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A Win-Win Ink Cartridge Recycling Program

woman sitting on inkjet boxes

In a fast-paced setting like the University of Rochester, materials are printed and copied continuously throughout the day. Even though the University is mindful of the environment by going paperless whenever possible, hundreds of ink cartridges are still used to print, copy, or fax necessary documents. Therefore, the University has implemented an ink cartridge recycling program. Inkjet cartridges, laser, toner, drums, and fusers can all be sent to University Mail Services at P.O. Box 270001 via the intramural mail system. Or, there are multiple drop-off boxes stationed around River Campus and one location at the Medical Center. Click here for the full list of locations, and to download flyers that can be posted to remind community members of the program.

Recycling empty cartridges is important because it allows the plastic to be recycled rather than going to a landfill. Although one ink cartridge might not seem like that much plastic, these containers accumulate to create a tremendous amount of waste. Every second, eight printer cartridges are thrown away. Two and a half ounces of oil are used to produce each inkjet, and three and a half quarts of oil are used to produce each laser print cartridge. Fortunately, recycling ink cartridges can eliminate these environmental pitfalls.

Cartridges are collected by the electronics and cartridge recycling business Imagine It … Fundraising through Recycling. Imagine It was founded in 2002 by Carlie Albano with the intention to allow schools, businesses, and other organizations to create fundraising programs with the rebates received by recycling.

The University of Rochester began its partnership with Imagine It in 2006. In 2013 alone over 7,800 pounds of ink cartridges were recycled. Rebates received through this program are allocated to the University’s Arboretum Gift account which is used to purchase and plant trees, some of which are planted on Earth Day every year. This recycling program is a win-win situation for the University, Imagine It, and the environment. We invite you to become a part of this beneficial program, by remembering to recycle your empty ink cartridges in the future!

Written by Abigail Fagan, class of 2014

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