Posts tagged landfills

ThINK green

“Modern technology owes ecology an apology.”Alan M. Eddison

Living in a technological age comes with a lot of benefits: We have more access to more information, we can communicate quickly, and we are able to keep permanent records, online and off, of just about anything. But as technology continues to develop and grow, our environment continues to take a hit.

Printers, especially smaller-scale ones used for personal purposes, are often a God-send for getting work completed and handed in on time. The ink cartridges that fuel those printers, however, are posing an environmental challenge. Approximately 70 percent of all ink cartridges aren’t recycled, and millions — about 375 million, to be exact — of empty cartridges fill up our landfills. According to inkguides.com, that breaks down to about 11 empty cartridges being tossed into the trash every second; “If you put all these cartridges end to end they would cover a distance encircling the earth over three times,” the site states.

Photo courtesy puregreen.com

Photo courtesy puregreen.com

These cartridges are made up of non-biodegradable products, and the ink inside them contains many chemicals harmful to the environment. So while ink cartridges just sit, piling up in landfills, any traces of the chemical-containing ink begin to seep into the soil. Eventually the chemicals can make their way into our groundwater and into our bodies.

Fortunately, there are ways to stop ink cartridges from slowly ruining our environment. The best and easiest way is to recycle empty cartridges. Many printer manufacturers, such as Canon, Dell, and Samsung, offer cartridge recycling programs. While many of these programs are non-cash rewarding, others do offer compensation for returned cartridges. Programs such as Toner Buyer give $.50 to $1 for cartridges. Other programs that offer cash in exchange for cartridges pay even more; Advantage Cartridge and Sunset Recycling will pay around $5 for inkjet cartridges. In addition to these programs, many schools and other organizations have started ink cartridge recycling programs. By holding drives and putting out collection boxes, those involved are able to give local residents a central drop-off spot for their old cartridges.

While a new cartridge containing a built-in environmental protection control is currently under patent, most cartridges are still the landfill-polluting kind. The next time you run out of ink, send your cartridge to a recycling program. Not only can you make a couple bucks, but you can help to stop overfilling landfills.

For a brief clip about the cartridge recycling process, check out this video:

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