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Roof Tiles, Cement and Freshwater River Conservation - Canon's Cartridge Recycling Programme

Photocopier News - General News

By the end of 2008, Canon had collected a staggering 212,000 tons of used cartridges for its recycling programme, proof if any were needed that Canon's environmental efforts over the years have gone much further than the nominal requirements of a public-facing company. Canon was in fact the first reprographics manufacturer to introduce easy to recycle all-in-one toner cartridges for its personal photocopiers followed shortly after by its laser printers and in 1990 Canon embarked on its toner cartridge recycling programme, another world first. The success of the programme has avoided tons of CO2 emissions, enabled the re-use of vast quanitities of plastic and other materials and has even been able to safeguard the most precious resource of all - our natural environment. Here we explore how toner cartridge recycling works, how effective it has been and why Canon it seems is leading the way in its environmental strategy.

Toner Cartridge Recycling - How it Works

As noted, it was Canon way back in the 1980's, 1982 to be precise which became the first company to design an all-in-one toner cartridge for Canon photocopiers, closely followed by Canon printers. These cartridges not only meant great benefits for users of Canon photocopiers and Canon printers - meaning that a photocopier would effectively be 'serviced' in many ways, whenever the cartridge was changed (as other components, as well as the ink are changed at the same time) but a single cartridge unit, also made toner cartridge recycling, from the point of view of the user, much simpler too. To this day, the drill is essentially the same as it was back then in 1990. Istead of taking your pre-paid return label from the toner cartridge box, as you did when the scheme first began, users now download personalised pre-paid labels from the e-Return site, attach to the pack and send.

From this point on, as one might imagine, it gets a little more complicated. Used cartridges are collected and sorted. Some are crushed and parts serparated and selected, others are dissembled mechanically and by hand. Of those that are chosen for dissembly, some of the parts will be cleaned, screened and may be suitable for re-use. Other cartridges that not not contain reusable parts are dissembled and join the pool selected to be crushed and from this point parts can be divided into several categories all of which have a final recycling destination. Those categories are aluminium, ferrous metals, mixed plastics and residues. The parts that may be re-used from old cartridges, typically include the charging roller, the sleeve and the magnetic roller and new toner cartridges containing any of these used parts are in fact exactly the same quality as those that are brand new. Of the materials that are recylcled, any remaining toner is used to make... well, toner, the drum cylinder is recylcled, waste toner is converted into oil and cement material, the housing parts are often shredded and remoulded for future toner housing and some, if not suitable for re-use, may be reccycled for use in the production of other products, such as roof tiles.

Toner Cartridge Recycling - The Results

Such a rigorous process has resulted in some pretty impressive results. Canon's toner recylcing programme is 'zero landfill', meaning that every component is re-used (75%) or recycled (100%). For every 100,000 used cartridges that Canon recycles, 9599 kilograms of aluminium is saved, along with 40 tons of plastic, equivalent to 1,000,000 litres of oil. As a major cause of global warming, the C02 that is avoided as a result of the recycling programme, preserves resources and helps to avoid environmental damage.

Canon today has one of the most well-established and successful toner cartridge reclycing programmes on the planet and its 40 production facilties world-wide now carry ISO certification.

Toner Cartridge Recycling - The Cause

Since 1998 in fact, Canon has been one of the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) conservation partners. In 2008 that partnership launched a highly successful campaign across Austria, Belgium, Finland and Norway to raise money for the WWF's Global Freshwater Programme. The initiative has been helping to protect fresh water habitats through the funds it receives every time an empty toner cartridge is recycled by Canon.

As a long-time Canon supplier and a proud advocate of Canon's recycling programme, Canon Copiers welcomes any enquiries relating to Canon's environmental efforts or its range of Canon products and services. Canon Copiers can offer some of the most impressive photocopier leasing packages on the latest Canon imageRUNNER and Canon imageRUNNER Advance photocopiers available anywhere in the UK.