Our planet is going through one of the most stressful times in its history – and I don’t mean the ongoing pandemic. I’m talking about environmental stress, where greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and other industrial pollutants continue to degrade the atmosphere. Thankfully we, as individuals and businesses, can do something about that by changing the way we deal with printer ink supplies. Sourcing re-fillable ink cartridges is one way to help do your part!
Printing as usual – Not an option!
One estimate puts the annual number of inkjet cartridges used around the world at approximately 1.3 billion. Sadly, nearly 70% of them end up in landfills, with less than 30% of them recycled. Every new cartridge produced uses about 3.7 liters (1 gallon) of oil – which contributes it’s share of GHGs to the environment. And then, those cartridges that find their way into landfills can take up to 450-years before they fully decompose. And during that time, they continue to contaminate the land as their toxins breakdown and enter the soil.
Clearly, printing as usual is not an option.
There are ways in which individuals and businesses can do something to help our ailing planet. Here are some suggestions:
– Consider using digital copies of a document, and print only if essential
– If you must print, consider using eco-friendly printer settings as your default
– Where possible, share your printed materials. So, if there are four participants, perhaps two copies of that 40-page report could suffice?
– Choose black-and-white or grey scale printing for drafts and interim versions. Save color printing only for final versions
And, as with every important global initiative – every little bit helps.
Addressing the issue at source
While the above steps help prolong the life of ink cartridges, they may not be sufficient to address the broader issue. For instance, despite your best intentions, it might not be possible to cut down on printing, nor might it be practical to drastically alter how some people like to work – choosing hard copies over electronic versions.
Thankfully, responsible printer ink manufacturers and civic-minded Australian suppliers of printer cartridges have stepped up to address the situation. Not only are they manufacturing more efficient printers, but they’re using less environmentally damaging chemicals and more environment friendly dyes and colors to produce their ink and toner.
The result of these efforts is that comparatively fewer ink and toner cartridges are required to now print the same number of pages as we did a few years ago. New ink manufacturing technologies also prolong the life of printers, making “printing as usual” more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Doing your bit to help
Australia Post has initiated a nation-wide recycling initiative that has already helped recycle over 5-million ink and toner cartridges. Their Cartridge 4 Planet Ark program enables printer users to easily drop off used or expired ink or toner cartridges at convenient locations. That’s it – You’ve done your part to sustain our environment. Now, the friendly Posties will do theirs!
And, if you still can’t find a convenient way to recycle your printer ink containers, then you can make a small change to what types of printers you use. An easy switch would be to use refillable printer cartridges instead of single-use ones.