Dispose of empty toner and printer cartridges in the right way!

Dispose of empty toner and printer cartridges in the right way!

Sooner or later you will have to replace the consumables on your printer. It is important to know that you do not dispose of empty toners and printer cartridges with household waste, but only at the stations provided for this purpose, be it recycling centers, printer manufacturers or even non-profit organizations that are also happy about such donations, as they dispose of the empties for you and receive a small fee for it. Even better for you: donations can usually be tax-deductible. In the following, we would like to show you how to proceed correctly when disposing of empty toner and printer cartridges.

Dispose of empty toner and printer cartridges: the right way!

Empty toner and printer cartridges are recyclable, but there are some steps to ensure they can be recycled. Printer ink is toxic and needs to be disposed of properly so it doesn’t contaminate the environment or people.

Dispose of toner and printer cartridges in accordance with the law

As already mentioned at the beginning, toner and printer cartridges must not be disposed of with household waste. Similar regulations apply here as for batteries, energy-saving lamps or fluorescent tubes, since these types of substances can sometimes have a heavy impact on the environment. The materials for laser printers and inkjet printers such as plastics, metal components, contacts, conductor tracks or image drums can and must be recycled, which relieves the burden on the environment and conserves raw materials. The same applies to the accessories required. However, this procedure is not only important for moral reasons, it is clearly prescribed by the legislature.

Recycling according to the recycling law

Recycling has been on everyone’s lips for a long time, but there are also legal regulations that must be complied with in order not to harm our environment any further. The disposal and removal of garbage has been regulated by the recycling law according to states.

The measure always has priority over all other measures which best guarantees both the protection of people and our environment and which is precautionary and can optimally guarantee the principle of sustainability. In this regard, the removal as the last link in this chain is the logical consequence. For printer cartridges and toner cartridges, feeding them into the recycling cycle is the top priority, in order to act in accordance with the law on the one hand and environmentally friendly on the other.

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You can also sell empty toners and printer cartridges and thus act in accordance with the law and in an environmentally conscious manner and even do something good for your wallet at the same time.

Dispose of ink and toner cartridges: Appropriate facilities

As already mentioned several times, household waste is not the right place to dispose of your printer cartridges and toner. The bin or the residual waste are also unsuitable. The same applies to all printer cartridges. The reason for this is the substances it contains, which require special consideration. The toner powder in the cartridges, for example, is harmful if it gets into the human body or the environment in unhealthy quantities. It contains substances such as metal oxides, synthetic resin, pigments and other auxiliary substances to which you should not expose yourself in large quantities. Such is the use of a laser printer because of the toner dust created during printing then risk-free if you ventilate regularly and use a waste toner container, which you can acquire for many printer models in the TonerPartner shop at low prices.

In order to be able to dispose of your toner and printer cartridges in an environmentally friendly way, however, you do not have to despair, but can fall back on many options.

Disposal via recycling centers

Recycling centers are the point of contact for waste that cannot or may not be disposed of with your own household waste. The same applies to printer and toner cartridges. This type of disposal is free of charge for you if you do not unload excessive quantities of your consumables at the farms. It is important to know that you also live and are registered in the city or municipality in which the recycling center is located. In rural regions, you can find out the location of the nearest recycling center at the responsible regulatory office.

Not every recycling center accepts all types of waste. In order to avoid unnecessary journeys and annoyances, it makes sense to find out in advance whether you can bring your empties of printer accessories there. Opening times, any fees incurred, as well as the amount and type of acceptable waste may vary from recycling center to recycling center, which is why you should contact them and ask whether you can dispose of your empty toner and printer cartridges there.

Dispose of empty toner and ink cartridges through your retail outlet

It is by no means a matter of course or mandatory, but in individual cases it is possible to hand in your empty printer accessories to the retail outlet where you originally purchased them. In this regard, however, there is no uniform regulation, so it makes the most sense to contact the relevant dealer yourself and inquire about how to handle empty consumables there.

Disposing of empty toner and printer cartridges: The individual manufacturers

Although there is no uniform regulation of how retailers have to deal with empties, this does not apply to the manufacturers of printer accessories. Since they generate a large part of their profit from the sale of toner and ink cartridges, they were obliged to take back the corresponding empties and to independently feed them into the proper, sustainable and gentle recycling cycle. Indeed, many printer manufacturers and printer accessories manufacturers take their responsibility seriously. Because a healthy environment also ensures an effective and economic future for them.

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In the following we have compiled a list of the manufacturers from which you can dispose of your toner and printer cartridges. This list is intended as a guide and does not claim to be complete.


Canon takes back both toner and ink cartridges. After being returned, these are dismantled and cleaned in our in-house dismantling departments. The manufacturer builds usable and tested individual parts back into new consumables, while non-reusable parts are recycled. On the recycling side of the manufacturer for more information and to request free return labels, boxes or envelopes. Note the different regulations for large and small quantities of cartridges and cartridges.


HP divides its recycling service into three categories: private households, small and medium-sized businesses, and the public sector. Home users can apply for free return labels; Companies and the public sector also have the option of using HP’s pick-up service under certain conditions. You can find more information on this on the HP recycling page .


At Brother , ink cartridges can only be sent in using an envelope previously ordered on the manufacturer’s website, while a pick-up service for companies and offices is also offered for toner cartridges, depending on the quantity, and for which you receive a special collection container. As part of the Brother recycling program Brother Earth, the charity “Cool Earth” is supported, among others. Please see Brother’s recycling page for more information .


Samsung has its toner and printer cartridges recycled through the provider HP . Therefore, please read the page linked above for further information.


Consumers can also send in their empty consumables free of charge at Epson . This requires registration on the Epson website before you can order a recycling kit. As a major customer, you have the option of ordering a collection box for empty printer and toner cartridges, which will be picked up free of charge.


Lexmark offers its recycling service free of charge to small, medium-sized businesses, large organizations and individuals alike. Access the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP) here .


At Xerox , according to the website, consumables are only disposed of using the packaging in which the accessories were delivered. After you have packed the toner or printer cartridges, you can request a return label and, after receiving the return slip, send the package back to the manufacturer postage paid.

Konica Minolta

For Konica Minolta accessories , you can request a free toner cartridge return sticker from this link . You are responsible for the packaging yourself.

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Toner cartridges, image drums and heating units can also be sent in free of charge at OKI . You can have the appropriate OKI return label created and sent to you here.


The manufacturer Kyocera offers the collection of several toner boxes for companies as well as the free return of individual toner cartridges. Kyocera works with various service providers to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Further details can be found on the provider’s information page on take-back systems .

You don’t always have to dispose of your empty consumables yourself. For example, if you donate empty printer cartridges and toner to non-profit or charitable organizations that offer this, they will dispose of the material for you or pass it on to the appropriate recycler and often receive a small remuneration in return, which in turn goes into the sponsored Projects and programs flow. In addition to knowing that you have done something good, you also have the advantage that you can request a donation receipt from the organization concerned, which you can then claim in your tax return.

Cash for money

Some people suggest that you can make a lot of money by recycling ink cartridges. While we haven’t seen huge profits from recycling ink cartridges for cash, you can make some money and get rid of some clutter in your office. In this way you can increase your budget for the next order of printer or toner cartridges and do something for the environment. Some companies also offers you the opportunity to donate empties to non-profit organizations such as children’s charities.

Support organizations in your area

In most regions there are non-profit and charitable organizations in the vicinity that are happy to receive donations. Many of them accept your empties in order to forward them to the appropriate offices and to support your projects with the remuneration received. Take a look around your community or town. Information about these institutions is often available on the Internet, the community newsletter or the local newspaper. On the one hand, you are doing something for a clear conscience and, with this recycling cycle, you are also protecting the environment.


If you want to dispose of empty toner and printer cartridges, there are many ways to solve this. Since you are never allowed to dispose of such materials in the household waste, you can either contact a recycling center in your area or, on the other hand, instruct the responsible manufacturer to take them back. However, the different printer manufacturers have different approaches. Therefore, find out in advance about the exact process and the requirements. You can also donate empty toner and printer cartridges, on the one hand to do something good and on the other hand not to have to take away the empties yourself.

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