What Happens To Recycled Printer Cartridges
By Simon Williams - 4th May 2020

It’s no secret that CartridgesDirect and all Original Printer Cartridge manufacturers have long been promoting the responsible disposal of empty printer cartridges. Not only is recycling these printer cartridges protecting our planet but it also allows others to reuse the precious metals and minerals for other purposes which in turn preserves virgin materials. If you want to gain a greater understanding of what happens to recycled cartridges or arm yourself with the right information to motivate your team - let’s get granular and shed a light on what actually happens to recycled printer cartridges.

Close the Loop

To appreciate the journey a used printer cartridge makes and the innovation that unfolds, we need to call out Close the Loop and the invaluable contribution they are making to the world. As the name would suggest, Close the Loop has established proprietary technologies and recovery processes that effectively separate materials so that can be put back into the production line - closing the material loop. This ensures that these precious commodities make their way back to their respective industries or used in other industries to create equally valuable products and services. While there are other recycling entities operating in the market, Close the Loop can ensure the safety of these recovered materials, making sure their usable forms will still perform their core functions. Their process ensures that every part of a recycled printer cartridge is repurposed with zero waste.

Now, let’s bring some relativity to the discussion and explore what products are made from recycled printer cartridges.


TonerPlas is an asphalt additive that has proved to be an incredibly efficient agent that yields hard-wearing, quality roads. That’s right, those printer toner cartridges that you responsibly recycle are being broken down and built into new roads and effectively closing the loop. Printer cartridges possess a high-grade polymer that makes it a desirable additive, especially when used in conjunction with soft plastics that are dropped into the recyclable bins at Woolworths and Coles. Unfortunately, more than 300k tons of soft plastic end up in landfill, which is unacceptable when you consider how that soft plastic can be put to work and not only better the environment but contribute to a community rather than creating asphalt from virgin materials.

What’s been even more encouraging is that TonerPlas is a far more quality asphalt, yielding a 65% more longevity compared to its alternative, and it also increases resistance so that heavy vehicles better withstand the roads.


In the same vein, TonerPave is another venture in partnership with Close the Loop and manufacturers, Downer Group. Using similar primary recycled materials as TonerPlas, TonerPave is on an aggressive trajectory and has already boasted 1,000km of TonerPave across Australia. This is not only roads but pavements, with the chief mission of reducing the carbon footprint and ultimately closing the loop so much that this becomes the industry standard for asphalt. Manufacturers like Downer Group have made a strategic decision to deploy these powerful additives which do not crack, require less maintenance and have a lower carbon footprint of 23%. This makes TonerPave and its derivatives an environmentally and commercially efficient venture.


The benefits of recycling are not only seen globally, but you can also enjoy their fruits on a domestic level. Enviropens are another initiative from Close the Loop, which has culminated in a high quality felt-tipped pen called the EnviroLiner. As you might have guessed the EnviroLiner uses recycled ink from used inkjet cartridges, as well as other ethical agents that work to hone in on greater blacks, by still using yellow, cyan and magenta ink found in an inkjet cartridge. The plastic casings of the pens are also made from the recycled plastics of the ink cartridges themselves, culminating in a fine pen offering that is well designed and with the ink power of leading print technologies. 

The EnviroLiners are made and available in Australia and the USA, and they use 80% recycled ink (with the other 20% being ethical agents), and the entire pen casing and body is made from PCR PP (Post-Consumer Recycled Polypropylene).

These innovations are not only an example of the creative problem-solvers present in our society, but it shows that the possibilities for recycled products are truly infinite. By simply disposing of your cartridges correctly, you can have an active role in preserving our Earth and reducing your impact. We stand by a number of these initiatives here are CartridgesDirect, and we are here to assist with the disposal of your used cartridges. Contact 1300 765 575.

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