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HP Announces New Recycling Milestone: Over 75% Of Ink Cartridges Now Made With Closed-Loop Recycled Plastic

More than 75% of the ink cartridges manufactured by HP are now made with closed-loop recycled plastic, according to a recent press release from the industry-leading information-technologies corporation.

In addition to the new ink cartridge milestone, more than 24% of HP’s LaserJet toner cartridges are now manufactured with closed-loop recycled plastic as well. I took a closer look at this process this week while visiting a major HP recycling facility in Ireland*.

New ink cartridges manufactured using recycled plastics.  Image Credit: James Ayre

New ink cartridges manufactured using recycled plastics.
Image Credit: James Ayre / CleanTechnica

The new milestones represent a 50% year-on-year increase in the quantity of HP ink cartridges being manufactured with recycled content — a relatively fast increase, and one which is expected to continue according to company sources.

HP attributes the achievement of these goals to its “Living Progress” ethos/strategy — which is, essentially, an approach to doing business that’s intended to drive innovation and “human, economic and environmental progress.”

Recycled-plastic pellets made from old cartridges. Image Credit: James Ayre

Recycled-plastic pellets made from old cartridges.
Image Credit: James Ayre / CleanTechnica

While it is of course debatable to what degree recycling programs can truly counteract the impact of large businesses on local environments and the world as a whole (does a recycling program truly make up for other business practices/effects, such as scarce-resource use/environmental degradation?), the environmental impact of these products has been reduced through the use of recycled plastics in the manufacturing process.

You can’t really fault the company too much — improvements are being made, and environmental impacts are being lessened in some ways, which is more than can be said for many large businesses.

Different types of plastics used in manufacturing process. Image Credit: James Ayre

Different types of plastics used in manufacturing process.
Image Credit: James Ayre / CleanTechnica

Here’s a bit of background on HP’s closed-loop cartridge recycling program, as well as some specific figures on the process (via HP):

• The closed-loop cartridge recycling program uses recycled plastic from returned HP cartridges as well as plastic from other sources, including recycled plastic bottles and plastic apparel hangers.

• The company’s various recycling programs have kept around 566 million returned HP cartridges out of landfills since the year 1991.

• The program has used over 2.5 billion post-consumer plastic bottles to manufacture new HP ink cartridges since the year 2005.

• The program has used over 1.1 million pounds of recycled apparel hangers since the most recent expansion of the recycling process began.

• More than 2 billion original HP ink and toner cartridges have been manufactured using recycled content.

• Recycled plastic from HP’s closed-loop recycling process has a 33% lower carbon footprint and a 54% lower fossil fuel footprint than new plastic.

For those interested (who aren’t already participating in the recycling program), you can drop off your used HP ink cartridges at any one of the more than 9,000 drop-off locations around the world, or return it via the company’s mail-in return program. You can find out more here.

*Disclosure: My trip to Ireland to visit HP’s recycling facilities was covered by HP. That said, I was not required to write anything or write about anything in return.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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