How to Recycle Printer Cartridges For Charity In The UK

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Don’t bin your empty printer cartridges. Instead, recycle them. Here’s how to recycle your used printer cartridges to help raise funds for your favourite charity – including the organisations to know and the charities they support.

It can be hard to avoid having to print out documents. Yet while printer paper is generally recyclable – unless you’re printing on photo paper – the actual printer cartridges themselves are tricky to recycle.

What’s so tricky about them? Well, printer cartridges can’t be recycled at home. They’re made from plastic and other mixed materials, including aluminium and steel. It’s this blend of mixed materials that makes recycling cartridges difficult in normal household recycling streams. As such, millions of cartridges end up in landfill every year.

However, just because printer cartridges can’t be recycled at home doesn’t mean they are not recyclable. Almost all inkjet printer cartridges can be recycled. And the good news is that we turn our everyday printing habits into a force for good, by recycling our old printer cartridges for charity.

How To Recycle Printer Cartridges For Charity In The UK

Pile of empty printer cartridges with a blue text box that reads how to recycle printer cartridges for charity in the UK

Rather than binning your used cartridges, here are the recycling services you can use to make sure they get recycled whilst benefiting charities close to your heart:


Recycle4Charity is a simple way to recycle your old printer cartridges, whilst providing much-needed funds for charity. Each cartridge sent for recycling can earn the charity of your choice as much as £2, plus you’re keeping the components of the cartridge in use.

Since its launch in 2002, it has raised more than £1.5m for charities and saved over 370 tonnes of cartridges from landfill.

Use the postcode lookup tool on the website to find details of local recycling schemes near you, where you can drop off cartridges with no minimum collection amounts. Through this, I’ve found a local dental practice collecting cartridges for Alzheimer’s Scotland.

Alternatively, if you have 15 or more cartridges ready for recycling, you can print off a Freepost label on the Recycle4Charity website. Or you can order a collection box, should you wish to set up a collection point at your workplace or in your local community.

Recycle4Charity’s partners include:

  • Barnardos
  • Stonewall
  • Crisis
  • PDSA
  • WaterAid
  • Tearfund
  • Shelter
  • Oxfam
  • and many more

The Recycling Factory

The Recycling Factory is the UK’s largest recycler of inkjet cartridges, recycling over 8 million cartridges each year. Since its inception in 2004, so far it’s raised over £4 million for good causes – all while keeping old cartridges out of landfill. It recycles all cartridges on-site and does not send any cartridge waste to landfill.

The Recycling Factory accepts 200 different makes of cartridges (excluding laser or toner cartridges). These are eligible for a charitable donation of up to £1.00 per cartridge.

Its charity partners include:

  • The Salvation Army
  • The Firefighter’s Charity
  • Make A Wish UK
  • MS Society
  • Sue Ryder
  • Medical Detection Dogs
  • Rainbow Trust
  • Royal Voluntary Service
  • RSPB
  • RNIB
  • and a lot more.

To get started, sign up as a collector on The Recycling Factory website, and order your free recycling box. When your recycling box is full (approximately 50 cartridges), take it to your local post office to return your empty cartridges for recycling. Once the cartridges have been processed a donation is made to the charity of your choice.

Printer Cartridge Recycling

Printer Cartridge Recycling accepts a wide range of old cartridges for recycling. This includes Brother, Canon, Epsom, Frama Matrix, HP, Kodak, Lexmark, and Quadient. And for peace of mind, Printer Cartridge Recycling guarantees that your cartridges will be recycled correctly and safely at all times.

To recycle printer cartridges for charity, simply collect your cartridges, and then click on the charity of your choice on their website. Add your cartridges to your basket, and provided you have £10 or more worth of donations, you can then send your cartridges to Printer Cartridge Recycling via the free Royal Mail Tracked 48 service. To make things easy, this arrives via email and just needs to be printed off and put on your package. Your package can then be dropped off at any Post office branch.

Some of the charities you can choose to support via Printer Cartridge Recycling include:

  • Dog’s Trust
  • Mind
  • Young Lives Vs Cancer
  • Age UK
  • Dementia UK
  • Child Autism UK

Ink & Toner Recycling Ltd

Ink and Toner Recycling Ltd is one of the leading printer cartridge management and recycling companies in Europe. It will recycle virtually any type of used or unused printer cartridge – with the exception of remanufactured or compatible cartridges, and waste toner bottles.

Operating on a zero-landfill outcome, it’s a great way to ensure your old printer cartridges aren’t contributing to waste. However, from what I understand, when recycling your cartridges for charity, you can’t send your cartridges directly to the company. Instead, you have to send them to your preferred charity, which will then send them on to Ink & Toner Recycling Ltd. This ensures the charities get the correct amount of money from their cartridge donations.

A few charities use Ink & Toner Recycling Ltd. This includes Against Breast Cancer and Action Medical Research For Children. Follow each link to get the details of where to send your cartridges if you’d like to support these charities with your donations.

How Does Recycling Work

Now you know where to send your cartridges, you might be wondering what happens to your cartridges once they arrive at their destination.

Well, once your printer cartridges are sent for recycling, typically they’re separated into their different components. Plastic is separated for plastic recycling, whilst the different metal components are separated. These are then cleaned, to remove any lingering ink. Finally, the plastic and metal parts are typically melted down before being repurposed to create new products.

Recycling them like this reduces the need for virgin materials and cuts down on waste. And sending them to an organisation that donates to charity means you’re not just managing your waste; you’re actively contributing to positive change in your community and beyond. All in all, it’s a win-win for both charities and the environment.

Looking for other ways to donate to charity? Here’s how you can donate used stamps to charities to help them raise vital funds.

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