Can You Recycle Printer Toner?

used laser print cartridge in recycling bin

If you’re wondering whether you can recycle printer toner, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Even if you don’t do a lot of printing, you can still do your part to help make the earth a cleaner place. Despite the fact that many people throw their printer supplies into the garbage, printer toners are actually a recyclable office supply and they’re a lot easier to dispose of than people think.

This information is important to know and share since so many homes and offices continue to use a high volume of printer toners on a daily basis. Based on reports, printer sales from 2016-2020 will continue to soar, with many people choosing inkjet and wireless printers for their offices or at-home businesses.

Even though printer toners are recyclable, many people still dispose of them in landfills. Approximately 60-80% of toner cartridges still end up in the local landfill where it takes about 1,000 years for them to fully decompose.

For every 100,000 recycled toner cartridges, we can save 40 tons of plastic, 1,000,000 liters of oil and 9,599 kilograms of aluminum.

If you want to know how you can take part in this recycling process, consider the following options:

How to Recycle Printer Toner

Office Supply Stores

If you have a local office supply store, give them a call when you’ve got empty printer toners. These businesses may have their own program for recycling and you may be able to drop off your empties for them to dispose of properly.

Some stores try to encourage people to recycle their toner by using incentives–such as receiving money, store credit or a percentage off their next toner purchase. Be sure to call ahead of time to learn about their specific rules and how you’ll need to prep your toners for drop-off.

This is one of the easiest ways to recycle printer toner–simply bring back your empties when you need to refuel and you can be sure that the toner is being disposed of in a greener way.

Local Recycling Center

used printer toner recycle bagIf you’ve been buying printer toner in bulk and you’ve got more than just a few toners for recycling, you might consider taking them to a local recycling center. Everyone’s policies will be different so it’s a good idea to call ahead of time to learn about their regulations and times.

If you do choose to recycle here, make sure that you understand any requirements for printer toner packaging. This is another simple way to dispose of empty cartridges without leaving them to the landfill for thousands of years.

Cartridge Sales Online

Some companies collect used cartridges, both as a way to inhibit improper disposal and to use the old pieces to re-create new ones.

There are numerous websites you can use to sell cartridges and prices will vary based on the buyer and the type of items you have. Expect to be paid anywhere from 25 cents to three or four dollars; the money may not be a lot, but it’s an easy way to make some money while helping the environment.

There are many well-known websites that accept old toners, including This company is family-owned and they are the largest recycler in the Northwest. Brand-name printer companies also accept old cartridges, including Epson, HP, Lexmark and Canon.

Be aware that some of the larger corporations will charge you to ship the contents of your package, while others will happily send stamped envelopes for you to use. Do some research about the options you have to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Donate to Charity

ink cartridge placed recycling box

If you’re not interested in making money from your empty printer toners, then you might consider donating them. Companies like Cartridges for Kids give people the option of sending in their empty cartridges and, in return, the proceeds go to schools and non-profit organizations.

Empties4Cash is a similar company that gives you the option of accepting your earnings in cash or sending the money to one of their supported charities. Empties4Cash will send you a prepaid shipping box, which you can use to mail in your donations.


The next time you’re shopping for printer toners, be sure to check whether or not the company recycles or where you can take your empty toners to be recycled. Even though it may not seem like a big deal, there are more than 350 million cartridges thrown into landfills each year.

Spread the word to those who don’t know about recycling toners to help keep the landfills free of unwanted items. If you can, consider collecting them from others in your office or neighborhood to ensure that they end up where they belong.