Green works: recycling ink and toner cartridges

Green works: recycling ink and toner cartridges

Every year in the U.S., more than 300 million used ink and toner cartridges from printers, copiers and fax machines are tossed into the trash, destined for a landfill. Because these cartridges are made of plastic, they require petroleum to produce and can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. It’s estimated that fewer than half of all used cartridges are currently being recycled. Would you like to do your part to put a dent in these shocking figures?

It takes only a small amount of effort to create and follow a procedure in your office to ensure that all ink and toner cartridges are recycled. First, draft a simple policy stating that 100% of cartridges will be recycled effective on, say, October 1. Educate your entire staff (doctors included) that this is the new rule, and designate a box (or several, if your office is large) for everyone to deposit their used cartridges. Assign one person to monitor the box and be in charge of recycling on a regular basis. It’s really that simple.

As of mid-September, Medical Arts Press® is making it easier for offices to recycle used cartridges. Customers can request a postage-paid mailing label or shipping box to return their used, undamaged cartridges. To sweeten the deal even further, practices that use this free service will receive $2 in Medical Arts Cash for each cartridge they return. This is credit that can be applied to purchase any product the company offers. What a deal. Click here for details.

Recycling is great, but reducing waste from the get-go is even better. You can cut down on the number of ink and toner cartridges you use each year by following some of these simple tips.

  • Think before you print. If you can work effectively from what you’re seeing on the screen, whether that’s information from a Web site, an e-mail, patient data, or a document you’re editing, try to do so
  • Proof your work carefully before printing to reduce the need for second or third copies of the same document.
  • Set your printers to draft, economy, or low resolution mode until you really need to print in the highest resolution.
  • Before making copies, consider how many you really need. How often have you shown up at a staff meeting with copies of the agenda or a new policy, only to find that half the people in the room had already printed their own?

If you don’t already have a comprehensive program in place to recycle mixed paper, glass, cans and plastic, use this new opportunity to keep ink and toner cartridges out of the landfill to jump start an office-wide initiative to go green.