See our printer recycling page for the services that we offer.

The useful lifetime of computer printers is becoming shorter resulting in an increasing number requiring recycling. 

There are two types of computer printer commonly in use: inkjet and laser.  An inkjet printer creates a printed page by squirting small droplets of ink on to the page from a print head that travels backwards and forwards across the page.  They are expensive to run but can give very good results if used with special papers.  Laser printers use a laser to scan an image on to a drum which then transfers toner onto the page.  Electrostatic attraction is used to apply the toner to the page.  Toner is a very fine powder which is fused with heat on to the page.  Laser printers are cheaper to run than ink jet printers.

Printers are a complex electromechanical device consisting of thousands of parts.  The main categories are plastics, ferrous metal, circuit boards, and cabling.  The two methods of recycling them are manual dismantling and shredding, although manual dismantling may only be to a subassembly level.  Newer inkjet printers are sold at very low prices and consist largely of plastic.

Consumables (drum units, toner units, and ink cartridges) can be refurbished or refilled.  The majority of modern consumable do not have an easy method of doing this since they are manufactured for single use only.

In New Zealand printer manufacturers offer differing levels of recycling for their products.  The table below of the major printer supply companies gives details of how printers and consumable can be recycled.

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A number of independent companies offer toner cartridge, ink cartridge, and printer recycling.  One specialist is Cartridge RescueCartridge World accept some toner and ink cartridges for free, many of which are refilled and reused.

Further information

Why Printer Ink Is So Expensive | So Expensive - YouTube

Printer ink can sometimes cost more than the printer itself. We talk with a former editor of the Recycler to find out why printer ink is so expensive.