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Cartridges are used in printers to print out documents and photos. Cartridges come in all shapes and sizes, and are many different types. Some are more easily recyclable than others.

Some facts

* Gram for gram cartridge ink is more expensive than the finest Dom Perignon or Krug champagne not only is this because of huge demand but also because it is so light. (Source: Inkagain.co.uk).

* If you store your printer cartridges in a resealable plastic bag before use, this stops the ink from drying up!.

* Of some 60-million inkjet cartridges used each year in the UK, only about 10% are recycled. This means that 57 million cartridges get thrown away each year and end up in landfill sites or are incinerated. (Source: Inkagain.co.uk).

* Of the 1.2 billion new cartridges sold this year worldwide, only 100 million will come from remanufactured sources.

* A cartridge takes approximately 1000 years to biodegrade (Source: Redeem).

* Each laser cartridge contains over 1.5 kg of plastic, aluminium and assorted parts. For every laser cartridge that is dumped it takes 1.5 pints of oil to produce a new cartridge (Source: Recycling Appeal).

* Recycling your cartridges could save 15 million litres of oil a year in the UK alone.

How can I recycle my cartridges?

There are many schemes across the country, which now want used cartridges. Firstly ring your local council to see if they provide a recycling service or know of anyone in your area that does. Alternatively check out your local supermarket. Many supermarkets such as Co-op and Tesco's provide recycling bags. All you need to do is pop your used cartridges into the bags and post them to be recycled. Alternatively you can use refillable cartridges (not all of these are compatible with printers so please get some advice before going ahead).

Further Information

Learn about the difference in ink-jet cartridges here:

Refillable cartridges:

Read this article from the BBC about consumers getting a raw deal when it comes to printer ink:

Find out about Tesco's ink-jet cartridge recycling scheme here:

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