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Toners recycling under OROC (One root, one communitree) EEG Project

by NITYASHRI SANKARAN | 06-10-2019 01:11 recommendations 0 recommendations

Article by Nityashri Sankaran, Grade 11, Delhi Private School Sharjah


The One Root, One Communi-Tree (OROC) is one of EEG’s major Bi-Annual projects, where members can deposit a target of recyclables in 2 weeks to get an opportunity to plant trees in their name during the annual ceremony.  The recyclable materials to be deposited include Paper, Plastic, Aluminium cans, Toners, Glass and Mobile phones. The activity is twofold – you recycle and at the same time increase the sustainable green patch in the UAE. I am regular participant in the toner category and manage to collect from some corporates like banks and officers who do have a lot of printing requirements regularly.

Toners recycling is quite overlooked, and there is much less awareness on the recycling of printer toners as compared to other items like papers, plastics, cans etc. Even with the advancement and popularity of mobiles and E Books, printing still plays a major role in our daily lives, so awareness must be raised to reduce printing to the bare minimum, and refill empty toners and recycle thereafter. The empty toner and inkjet cartridges become plastic junk pieces that seem easy to be dumped into landfills, but toner cartridges are both recyclable and reusable. The cartridges can be refilled with professional quality ink also and reused a few more times if done in the correct way. Recent estimates show that 70% of used printer cartridges are discarded around the globe.

Some potential hazards include:

·         The plastics that are used in printer cartridges are composed of an engineering grade polymer. This polymer has a notably slow decomposition rate that ranges between 450 to 1000 years to be fully decomposed, depending on the cartridge type.

·         The printer ink may also be leaked, which contributes to pollution in the surrounding environment.

·         Printer cartridges and inks contain arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead, and zinc. This heavy portion of metals will only contaminate our soils and possibly be absorbed into our water table.

·         If not properly disposed, the carbon black from ink cartridges is classified as a 2B  carcinogen as per the International Agency for Research on Cancer.



New research shows, however, that integrating soy or vegetable-based inks can positively affect the manufacturing process as they emit only 20% of the volatile organic compounds (also known as VOC’s) that regular petroleum-based inks do. VOC levels are often disclosed by ink manufacturers in the cartridge's "spec" sheets. Switching over to using more naturally-based substances like these would obviously be a good start towards cleaning up our planet and our landfills. One recent development in the way people buy, consume, and dispose of consumer goods is changing the outlook for our natural environment. “Closed loop” recycling is a term that describes efforts to follow materials as they go from the point of purchase all the way through to when they get put into a new product as a recycled ingredient, and MNCs like HP and Canon make it easy, affordable, and beneficial to buy new ink products and when used up, return them as raw materials for new  ink cartridges and laser toner cartridges.

I would encourage students to print to the bare minimum, and try and recycle toners to reduce our carbon footprint going forward.




  • United Arab Emirates Youth NITYASHRI SANKARAN



Sandhya Adhikari

  • Sandhya Adhikari says :
    NITYASHRI Greeting from Nepal,
    This is really one of the best report i ever read. we dont think that printer ink causes pollution, thanks for letting us known about the fact. We must have to seek alternative for this.

    Keep writing such a great report,

    Warm Regards,
    Posted 06-10-2019 23:52

Meena Pandey

  • Meena Pandey says :
    Hello NITYASHRI!!!
    I hope you are fine and doing great .
    Thank you so much for a well written report.
    The printer ink which we had never thought that it cause pollution is also a major pollutant.
    The harmful metals in the ink pollutes both soil and water table.
    Lets find its alternative.

    Keep writing and shining.
    Hope to learn more from you.

    Warm regards,
    Meena Pandey
    Posted 06-10-2019 21:51

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