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How Many Printer Ink Cartridges are Sold Each Year in the U.S.?

Posted - 01/06/2012

It is estimated that consumers in the United States buy over 700 million ink cartridges every year. Over 350 million of those end up in landfills. With the industrialization of the rest of the world that number is rapidly growing. For many years there was no place to put cartridges but in the trash. Few programs were put into place to recycle cartridges and some recycling stations would charge money for their disposal. Unsurprisingly the impact on the environment is devastating. Ink cartridges contain the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of plastic, and can take up to 1,000 years to degrade. The manufacturing and shipping of a single cartridge uses up to 3.5 quarts of oil.

In more recent years, individual consumers, businesses, schools, and government agencies have become increasingly aware of the importance to recycle. Large manufactures are taking notice by implementing more environmental friendly production lines and better quality of recycled cartridges. Recycling stations are becoming commonplace in large retail stores. Retail supply stores and printer repair companies may offer cash reward incentives to customers for returning used cartridges. Ink refill kits and drop off refill centers are also a positive contributing factor. Every cartridge that is reused or recycled eliminates the need to manufacture a new replacement.
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