Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions that are often asked about 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark'.
Why can't cartridges go in our home recycling bins?
Council recycling collections pick up and separate certain packaging types, such as glass bottles and jars, aluminium and steel cans, milk and juice cartons, etc. Each item collected allows for easy separation into basic material types.
In the case of cartridges and other more complex products, they are a complicated structure involving a number of different materials. These products have to be manually pulled apart before they can be separated into their component materials. Therefore they aren't suited to the collection systems and sorting facilities used by councils.
To find out more about your local council's kerbside collection system, as well as local drop off locations for items ranging from corks and computers to motor oil and eye glasses check out RecyclingNearYou.com.au
Isn't reuse better than recycling?
The waste hierarchy places different approaches to managing waste in order of environmental benefit:
- Energy recovery
Landfill is the least desirable waste management outcome.
Many of the printer cartridges collected through the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program are returned to the original producer for their environmentally accredited (ISO 14001) re-manufacturing and component recovery process.
The entire cartridge waste stream must be considered when evaluating any cartridge reuse, recycling or re-manufacturing program. Prior to ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' around 15% of cartridges were reused, largely through third party re-manufacturing, leaving 85% going to landfill. In many cases, there was no solution for toner bottles, photocopier drums and thermal ribbons and most waste from reuse processes ended up in landfill.
There is no longer a remanufacturing industry in Australia, therefore any cartridges collected for reuse today are shipped offshore for re-manufacturing. Those cartridges not considered good enough most likely end up in landfill. In addition, re-manufacturers do not pay for any of their cartridges to be recycled when they come to their end of life.
‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' was launched to capture the 85% of cartridges that people were putting in rubbish bins. What isn't re-manufactured or reused is recycled with zero waste going to landfill from our Close The Loop recycling process.
Close the Loop is independently audited on an annual basis to verify that zero waste is sent to landfill.
What international standards are 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' measured against?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), develops standards to ensure consistent design, manufacturing, engineering and other product and service standards for the global marketplace. Both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 can apply to the production and/or recycling of printer consumables, such as printer cartridges.
ISO 9001 is a quality standard - meaning that the accredited product is of a certain minimum performance standard and that it will do the job for which it was bought, however, ISO 9000 standards DO NOT measure any environmental impacts, standards or indicators.
ISO 14001 is a standard for "environmental management" - meaning that the organisation in question has a standardized system for examining its environmental impact, and is working towards continual improvement of its environmental performance.
Close The Loop, Planet Ark's resource recovery partner, is both ISO 9001 certified and ISO14001 certified. Find out more about these ISO standards.
Shouldn't the companies that make printer products be responsible for the items the make?
Absolutely! That is why Australia's leading cartridge manufacturers are involved in the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program and pay for its running costs. Under extended producer responsibility (EPR) principles, the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program participating manufacturers, Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta and Kyocera, foot the bill for the environmental impacts of their own products.
By participating in the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program, cartridge manufacturers pay for the collection, transport, sorting and recycling of their own cartridges.
To date, this approach has enabled the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' partners to re-manufacture or recycle millions of printer cartridges (check out the cartridge counter on the home page to see the latest total).
For more information on product stewardship download Planet Ark's Product Stewardship Factsheet.
What Can I Do With My Cartridges?
Find out if your organisation is eligible for a free Cartridges 4 Planet Ark box.
If you want to recycle a small quantity now - visit RecyclingNearYou to find your nearest drop off location.
Call 1800 242473 for more information.