Environment

There's iron in them thar toner cartridges

Residual toner from discarded printer cartridges could be recycled into iron
Residual toner from discarded printer cartridges could be recycled into iron
View 1 Image
Residual toner from discarded printer cartridges could be recycled into iron
1/1
Residual toner from discarded printer cartridges could be recycled into iron

According to the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association, approximately 500 million printer cartridges end up in landfills each year, worldwide. And those cartridges, although supposedly empty, can still contain up to 8 percent residual toner by weight. Not only is this wasteful, but the toner can also leach into the soil. Now, however, scientists have devised a method of recycling it into iron.

Led by Dr. Vaibhav Gaikwad of Australia's University of New South Wales, the researchers placed toner powder in a furnace, where it was heated to 1,550 °C (2,822 °F). This converted the material's inherent iron oxide into 98 percent pure iron, using polymer resins present within the powder as a source of carbon.

Iron and steel are already manufactured at such temperatures, so the process could be carried out in the same facilities, at the same time. Additionally, the high temperature reportedly prevents toxic side products from forming as the toner is recycled.

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Source: American Chemical Society

1 comment
ClauS
Or just make refillable toner cartridges. Oh ... I forgot ... there are no money in refills.
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.