Each year, about 10 million empty ink cartridges are thrown away in Canada*.
This waste ends up in landfills, which puts an enormous strain on the environment – not to mention creating huge piles of garbage. To help combat this issue, Costco Canada provides ink cartridge recycling and ink cartridge refill services (select locations) to it’s customers.
Everyone knows the three R’s of environmental sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. But did you know they appear in order of importance on the EPA solid waste management hierarchy?
Reducing how much we consume and shifting our consumption to well-designed products and services is the most preferred level. Use less stuff. According to the US EPA, “making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy: raw materials must be extracted from the earth, and the product must be fabricated and then transported to wherever it will be sold. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment, and save money.”
Recycle and Composting is ranked lower than Reduction and Reuse because it involves reducing items into scrap material, which is formed into brand-new items. Compared to reuse, this can be a more energy-intensive process and can also generate more pollutants. Refilling is the purest form of recycling!
Can ink cartridges actually offset that waste and benefit the Earth? Can a green ink printer cartridge be green, period? Yep – here’s how: a typical printer inkjet cartridge tank has the capability to be refilled up to 10 times. The repeated “cartridge reuse” has plenty of positive outcomes for the environment.
Every time an ink cartridge is refilled, the resource savings are immediate – and beneficial. For instance, each refilled ink cartridge saves roughly 1 ounce of oil, along with approximately 1 kilogram of garbage (landfill waste).
Save Money. Save The Environment.
The majority of manufacturer original printer ink cartridges can be refilled. Refilling your ink cartridges is the purest form of recycling and can significantly reduce your running costs and help the environment by reducing the number of cartridges that go to landfill – every year millions of empty printer cartridges are needlessly thrown away.
Some good reasons of why it is so important to “refill and re-use” rather than disposing of your ink cartridge:
- Approximately 30 million ink cartridges are purchased annually in Canada and nearly a third of those end up in Canadian landfill sites each year (~1.3 billion inkjet cartridges are used around the world annually and less than 30 percent are currently being recycled)*
- Each cartridge thrown into landfill can take up to 450 – 1000 years to decompose.
- In just 12 months, cartridge recycling could save 1 million litres of oil*.
And when the packaging is accounted for – over 5 million tons of paper and paperboard products are used annually. Plus, with the reduced truck loads to landfills, refilled printer ink cartridge cut back on fuel costs and other transportation expenses. These are just a few of the positive “domino effects” of a printer ink cartridge refilling effort.
Small acts multiplied by thousands or millions of people make a huge impact! If your family or business doesn’t currently refill ink cartridges, it’s easy to start by visiting a local refill store today. Click here for Costco Canada ink refill store locations and ink cartridge refill pricing ($9.99 or $12.99) depending on cartridge type & capacity).
Just bring your empty ink cartridges into the Costco Photo Centre – our lab technicians are trained to refill over 300 different ink cartridge types from all the major manufacturers (i.e. HP, Epson, Canon, Brother, Lexmark and Dell) and can answer any additional questions you may have. It typically takes less than an hour to complete the refill from the time you drop the cartridges off. Our refillers stand behind the product and performance – guaranteed.
Additional Green Office Tips
- Studies show that 70% of office waste is recyclable but only 8% is actually recycled.
- Use recyclable products, paper and wood products that are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council of Canada) certified.
- Recycle all old computer, electronic and electrical products rather than storing them. BC`s electronic recycling program ensures they are properly recycled.
- Set up a green ideas plan to encourage and reward employees who come up with novel energy-saving or waste-reducing ideas.
- Turn off photocopiers and lights at the end of the day.
- Encourage reusing or repurposing wherever possible: an example we practice is the reuse of boxes and packing materials we receive our shipments in.
- Printer cartridges is an excellent way to conserve resources and keep the planet green: using refilled inkjet cartridges – which are perfectly reusable – diverts considerable waste from landfills.
NOTE: If a Costco Canada ink refill warehouse is not located near you, partner ink cartridge refill stores are also located in three (3) Canadian University bookstores:
Queens University Bookstore (Kingston, Ontario): http://www.campusbookstore.com/InkRefill/
University of Calgary Bookstore (Calgary, Alberta): http://www.calgarybookstore.ca/ink.asp
University of Victoria Bookstore (Victoria, BC): http://www.uvicbookstore.ca/info/inkjetrefill
*Canada estimates based on InfoTrends & Wikipedia article data, 2003-2015.