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Easy Printer Cartridge Recycling Instructions by Brand (An Office Recycling Guide)

Title and logo on top of image of yellow, pink, and blue printer toner cartridges

Printer cartridge recycling can be easy if you know what steps you have to take for each specific brand. It is important for your office recycling program to know how to recycle ink and toner cartridges properly.

Less than 30% of printer cartridges of the 1.3 billion sold worldwide end up being recycled, which means that more than 350 million cartridges end up in landfills every year in the US alone. By recycling or refilling these items instead of throwing them in the garbage, your office can play it’s part in closing the loop for a more circular economy.

Office recycling should be a part of every workplace. Creating a sustainability team that can make sure all possible recycling methods are being utilized is an important part of office recycling. Your sustainability team can use this guide as an easy resource to make sure all printer cartridge recycling is done properly.

Canon

screenshot of Canon's Open loop recycling infographic for how printer cartridges are recycled

Canon boasts that it was the first company to collect and recycle toner cartridges starting in 1990, so let’s start there.

Canon Manufacturer Recycling in the US:

  • Ink Cartridge Recycling Program: Just drop your unboxed, empty ink cartridges off at any FedEx Office Print & Ship Center and they will take care of it!
  • Toner Cartridge Recycling Program: Canon notes that there are a few locations around the US that accept toner cartridges. Utilizing these would be better for your carbon footprint due to less transportation needed for recycling. But these programs are few and far between, so you are still able to send back your toner cartridges by packaging the old one back into your new toner cartridge’s packaging and printing a prepaid shipping label from Canon.
  • Large Format Ink Cartridge Collection Program: If your office uses large format printers, you can repackage the depleted ink or toner into the replacement cartridge’s box and ship it back to Canon, but you have to pay your own shipping. Canon will take care of all other recycling costs once the item is received.

Canon Manufacturer Recycling in Canada:

  • Toner Cartridge Return Program: You can fill out and print a prepaid shipping label from their site, then either schedule a pick up or drop-off the boxed cartridge with Purolator.

Printer cartridges collected by Cannon will either be recycled, reused, or collected for energy recovery, depending on the product. If your office needs printer cartridge recycling in bulk, many of the above options provide shipping information for that as well.

HP Hewlett Packard

Screenshot of HP's recycling program. Image on the left is a water bottle on the sand. Image on the right is a school of fish.

HP Manufacturer Recycling Options:

  • Recycle Toner In-Store: Many big box store retailers such as Walmart, Staples, Office Depot and Best Buy in the US and Stapes or London Drugs in Canada, offer in-store drop-off for HP and Samsung toner cartridges, free of charge.
  • Mail in Empty Toner Cartridges: HP cartridges come with a prepaid shipping bag to return empty printer cartridges easily. If you didn’t keep the bag or you need to ship a bulk amount of cartridges, you can also order packaging from HP to be deliver to you with the postage paid by HP. You can also call to request a pallet pick-up if needed.
  • Use Recycling Toner Collection Units: Businesses that do a lot of business with HP can also arrange to ship the toner collection unit (TCU) and other toner consumable parts along with their bulk toner cartridges. This can be an important addition to any office recycling program.
  • HP Instant Ink Program: This is a subscription service for your ink cartridges based on the printer you’ve purchased. This program allows you to save on shipping and recycling costs, plus with a subscription service, HP estimates that you will save about 50% on ink or toner costs. The cartridges from this program are also made from recycled ocean plastics, are larger, and use less packaging making them a more sustainable option for ink cartridge purchases for your business.

HP’s printer cartridge recycling and Instant Ink program is the same in the US and Canada.

Brother

Screenshot of Brother at your side's recycling program information for printer cartridges.

Brother Manufacturer Recycling in the US:

  • Mail in Empty Cartridges: Brother will accept repackaged ink, toner, drum, or P-touch cartridges when you log in to your Brother account and print a prepaid shipping label. These packages can be dropped at any USPS location.

Brother Manufacturer Recycling in Canada:

  • Mail in Empty Cartridges: Essentially the same program is available in Canada for Brother printer cartridge recycling. You must log in to your Brother account to print a prepaid shipping label for your repackaged cartridge, then drop it off at any Canada Post location. The difference is that you will receive a coupon for 30% off your next toner purchase, as long as you opt-in to receive emails from Brother.

Epson

kid's hands holding a recycling symbol on Epson's webpage for recycling program

Epson Manufacturer Recycling in the US:

  • Recycle Ink Supplies: While Epson does offer mail in cartridge recycling, you must pay for shipping yourself. You can package any empty Epson inkjet cartridge and mail it directly to Epson. They also accept ink packs, bags, and bottles for recycling in the same manner.
  • Recycle AcuLaser Toner Cartridges: For these specific cartridges, you can request a prepaid shipping label to send them to Epson for recycling.

Epson Manufacturer Recycling in Canada:

  • Recycle Ink Supplies: Epson Canada offers the same mail in inkjet cartridge and ink supplies mail in program as in the US. They do not offer the same AcuLaser toner cartridge program though.

Xerox

Screenshot of Xerox's Green World Alliance recycling webpage.

Xerox Green World Alliance Manufacturer Recycling in the US:

  • EcoBox Cartridge Returns: If you have 5-30 items to return for recycling, you can either order an EcoBox or use your own box to send back cartridges for recycling. Before placing toner cartridges in the box, please wrap them individually in plastic bags to prevent toner dust from leaking. EcoBoxes come with a prepaid shipping label on them, but if you use your own box, you are still able to request a prepaid shipping label from Xerox that will be emailed to you. You then just need to drop them off at a UPS or schedule a UPS pick-up. This cartridge recycling program is ideal for office recycling programs.
  • Single Item Returns: Eligible cartridges can be shipped individually, but no prepaid shipping label will be provided.
  • Pallet Returns: For more than 30 items, companies are able to collect items onto a pallet until the pallet weighs more than 100lbs/45kg, then call to request the pallet be picked up by Xerox- free of charge. The pallet form must be filled out and labels adhered to the pallet as described by the pallet return instructions.

Xerox Green World Alliance Manufacturer Recycling in Canada:

  • EcoBox Cartridge Returns: A similar process for printer cartridge recycling applies to Canada. They encourage you to use your own box instead of the EcoBox. You can still order an EcoBox, but they are in shorter supply because they reuse boxes and have to wait for more to return back to them. When you log in to your Xerox account, you can get a prepaid shipping label for the box to be dropped off or picked up by Purolator. Single item returns and pallet returns are not available in Canada.

Lexmark

Screenshot of Lexmark's cartridge collection program information webpage

Lexmark Manufacturer Recycling in the US:

  • Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program: All you have to do for Lexmark cartridges is to put them in the return bag found in your replacement cartridge, box it, print your prepaid label from Lexmark, and ship it.

Lexmark Manufacturer Recycling in Canada:

  • Individual Toner Returns: Once you log in to your LCCP account, you can request and print a prepaid shipping label to add to your own boxed cartridge for pickup by Purolator.
  • Bulk Pallet Cartridge Returns: If your office recycling program has Lexmark printer cartridge returns over 80lbs, you can call or email Lexmark for a pick-up.

Sharp

screenshot of Sharp's toner recycling program webpage. Image is a field with energy windmills.

Sharp Manufacturer Recycling in the US:

  • Bulk Recycling Kit: You can request a free bulk recycling kit from Sharp which includes 3 pre labeled shipping boxes to be filled and shipped back via UPS.
  • Low Volume Recycling: Sharp offers a prepaid shipping label for individual cartridge returns, or they suggest dropping off cartridges at Staples stores.

Sharp Manufacturer Recycling in Canada:

  • Toner Recycling Program: To return Sharp toner cartridges, place the used cartridge in the box from your replacement cartridge only. If possible, they recommend shipping 8-10 cartridges at a time in the same box. Choose the prepaid shipping label link that corresponds to your province. Then ship with Canada Post.

Other Programs

pile of empty ink cartridges.

These companies have taken steps to close the loop by making manufacturer returns easy and almost always free. For your office recycling program, these may be the most convenient options for you based on what printer and copier equipment you use.

If your office uses many different brands of equipment, you may be more interested in recycling through programs that take every type of cartridge universally. There are so many programs available for universal take-backs. Here are a few examples:

In some locations around the US and Canada, local recycling programs or municipalities may offer ink and toner cartridge recycling in their E-Waste programs. You should always check to see what they accept before you try to recycle them locally, and always make sure to check if it is accepted as a drop-off item only.

This guide will help your sustainability team boost their office recycling program and excel at printer cartridge recycling.

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