How to Recycle Toner Cartridges and Other Supplies

Submitted by Michaela McMellan on Thu, 08/13/2020 - 09:00
Person changing toner

Have you ever wondered what to do with your left-over toner cartridges?  


You may have several empty cartridges or other supplies sitting in a box, wondering how and where to properly dispose of them.  


Xerox created a program to help prevent the estimated 1.3 billion cartridges that are sold each year from ending up in landfills as waste. This free and easy to use program provides you with the tools and instructions needed to properly recycle used supplies. 


Below are two ways to recycle old copier/printer supplies and parts, including Xerox’s Green World Alliance take-back program. 


1. Xerox Green World Alliance 


Xerox’s Green World Alliance take-back program was created to provide a free and simple way to recycle old cartridges and parts. Xerox has estimated that this program has prevented 145 million pounds of waste from entering landfills.  


Xerox provides a take-back list that shows you the supplies and parts you can return, including all toner cartridges. This list allows you to return nearly everything you would need to give back. 


The Green World Alliance website allows you to order a free Eco Box that comes with a prepaid shipping label. Follow the steps below for a convenient way to recycle supplies and toner cartridges.  


  1. Order your free Eco Box here 

  1. When your box arrives, fill it up with used supplies 

  1. Put the prepaid shipping label on the box 

  1. Schedule a pickup day through UPS here  


This program removes all worry or confusion about how to properly recycle old supplies and cartridges. If you don't own a Xerox branded machine, check with your vendor to see if they have a similar take-back program. 


2. Best Buy and Staples take-back program 


While Xerox’s program should accept anything you’re looking to return, Best Buy and Staples are additional places you can return supplies, specifically ink and toner cartridges. 


Best Buy’s electronics and appliance recycling program has contributed to environmental conservation by preventing millions of old cartridges from ending up in landfills as waste.  


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Staples is temporarily suspending their recycling program for the safety of their employees. Keep an eye on their website for future updates.   


Between the Xerox Green World Alliance and other take-back programs like Best Buy, there are many options for properly recycling toner cartridges and other smaller supplies. 


How to Recycle your Copier/Printer Machine? 


You may find yourself needing to return or dispose of your entire copier/printer unit. If you purchased from a copier distributor, check what their ‘take-back’ policies are. They might be willing to take your retired machine off your hands to help get you set up with a brand-new unit.   


If you're looking to rehome a working copier/printer, make sure you own that machine and are not currently in a lease first. Below are two potential ways to rehome a functioning copier/printer.  


1. Donating 


Nonprofit organizations are always looking for electronic donations such as copiers and printers. Donating to nonprofits is an excellent way to get the machine off your hands while helping those in need. 


2. Resale Sites 


A functioning machine can be rehomed by selling on resale sites such as eBay or The Facebook Market. These sites allow you to sell your items and make some money back. If you’re not concerned with making money, list an item as ‘free,’ to help find your machine a home fast. 


Once again, make sure you own these machines before you try selling them off. 


To avoid the hassle of trying to find a place to take your machine once you’re done with it, we recommend leasing. This way, at the end of your lease, you can choose if you want to extend your lease or send the machine back to the vendor. This is a perfect solution for you and the environment.   


Research done by The Recycler tells us that toner cartridges take about 400-1,000 years to decompose. Xerox has taken action and, so far, has prevented millions of used cartridges and supplies from decomposing in landfills. 


If you’re wondering what to do and how to properly recycle your copier/printer supplies, check out Xerox’s Green World Alliance or Best Buy’s take-back program. If you’re looking to rehome your copier/printer, consider donating, selling, or discussing other options with your current vendor.