none

HOW INK CARTRIDGES CONTRIBUTE TO THE E-WASTE CRISIS

22-10-2018
by 
in 

When it comes to the environment, there is nothing to be gained by categorising pollutants as small or large. Even mundane, everyday objects such as ink cartridges contribute a lot to the ongoing e-waste crisis.

And while printer cartridges are often overlooked when thinking about what e-waste embodies (computers, laptops, chargers, mobile phones etc), that does not make them any less harmful.

First, as containers, ink cartridges are mostly made of plastic, which by its very nature is extremely slow to decompose. Certain plastic types are known to be biodegradable, but not when it comes to ink cartridges, which are made from engineering-grade polymers that take a minimum of 1000 years to decompose.

To make the matters worse, plastic isn’t the only material of concern. There will inevitably be some ink left in them, which is also extremely harmful to the ecosystem. No matter how little ink is left, it abounds in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and heavy metals.

As a result, both soil and groundwater can become contaminated. Plastic in landfills reacts with water, thus producing harmful chemicals that simply go deeper until they reach groundwater. Also, the detrimental effects of VOCs have become so notorious that they are avoided whenever it is possible (in products such as paints, air fresheners, cleaning supplies and so on). They can cause severe health issues damaging the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.

Having all this in mind, it may seem illogical that 45% of empty ink cartridges end up in landfill. Not only due to their disastrous impact on the environment (and humans, of course) but due to the fact that 97% of an ink cartridge is completely recyclable.

Therefore, it would be advisable to take some serious measures. People should be educated about the recycling option, and informed about the nearest and most convenient places for their disposal. Manufacturers should definitely participate in the programme, especially as it will benefit their image in the world where being environmentally friendly is both appealing and profitable.

 

Related news & editorials

  1. 25.06.2019
    25.06.2019
    by      In
    With its constant craving for innovation and development, the software industry is almost certainly more focused on self-improvement than most. The never-ending series of meet-ups (where professional groups talk about issues relating to their specific field), the industry-level tech conferences –... Read More
  2. 18.06.2019
    18.06.2019
    by      In
    The Australian Defence Force does it. So does the Australian Tax Office and the Department of Human Services. And now, red teaming has spread to the corporate world with CIOs and CISOs increasingly turning to the practice to assess their organisations’ cyber resiliency.
    Red teaming exercises,... Read More
  3. 13.06.2019
    13.06.2019
    by      In
    New technologies and operational innovations are driving change in the mining sector, with emerging trends set to further shape the way the mining industry operates in 2019 and beyond.
    The business of mining is now high-tech and transformative with integrated automation, drones, advanced mining... Read More
  4. 04.06.2019
    04.06.2019
    by      In
    The term Industrie 4.0 was first coined at the Hannover Fair in 2011 by Siemens and the German government. Since then, the technologies that form this concept and the way they are deployed around the world have changed.
    It became obvious very quickly that digital manufacturing would be one of the... Read More