Recycling diverts 5.5 million cartridges from landfill

A national recycling program 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' has successfully diverted 5.5 million printer cartridges from Australia's landfill.

Using revolutionary Australian technology, the innovative program helps to facilitate sustainable use of resources as all of the items dropped into 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' recycling boxes are sent to a zero-waste-to-landfill facility.

This means that every component of a cartridge collected for recycling is spared from landfill and used to produce other items such as eWood.

E-wood is used to make outdoor furniture, fencing and bollards, as well as fuel to replace natural gas and chemical spill clean-up kits.

In the five years since the program began, hundreds of thousands of Australians and more than 17,000 Australian businesses have taken action to address the growing problem of e-waste by recycling their cartridges through the program.

However, more than 18 million printer cartridges still go to landfill every year.

This equates to approximately 3,000 tonnes of plastic, 1,500 tonnes of ferrous metals, 400 tonnes of aluminium, 260 kilograms of gold as well as a significant amount of residual toner powder, ink, packaging and other materials entering the waste stream. This is not only a waste of good secondary raw materials; it also leaves a messy problem for future generations.

Program sponsors include Lexmark, Hewlett-Packard, Brother, Konica Minolta, Panasonic, Epson and Canon together with recycling partner Close the Loop.

- Sandra Rossi

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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