How are cartridges recycled?
Once toner cartridges are received at the Canon recycling site, they are sorted according to model before being disassembled.
At this stage, reusable parts such as the charging roller, sleeve and magnetic roller are cleaned and recovered. After cleaning, they go through a rigorous inspection process that uses the same strict quality standards applied to new parts.
Toner cartridges containing recycled parts are of exactly the same quality as those that are brand new. Thanks to Canon’s stringent quality standards, it is impossible to tell the difference between a toner cartridge that has recycled parts and one that does not.
Some parts are not suitable for re-use in the production process. Instead, they are recycled or energy recovered ensuring that no waste material goes to landfill.
The history of cartridge recycling
1982-1992: World’s first recycling programme
In 1982 Canon launches the world's first personal copying machines with an all-in-one cartridge system. Eight years later, in 1990, the Canon Toner Cartridge Recycling Programme is launched in the USA, Japan and Germany. In 1992 Canon starts closed-loop plastic recycling and wins the Grand Prize at Global Environmental Awards.
1997-2002: Growth of recycling programme
In 1997 Canon starts recycling cartridges at Canon Bretagne in France and 2 years later, in 1999, the recycling programme is launched in three more European countries. In 2002 Canon expands the programme to 10 countries in Europe.
2003-2009: Expansion of cartridge return options
In 2003 Canon achieves ‘no waste to landfill’ for toner cartridge recycling. In 2008 the recycling programme is increased to 12 countries, and a web-based cartridge return process is launched. During the same year, the collection volume of cartridges reaches 200,000 tonnes. The following year, in 2009, Finland and Sweden launch bulk cartridge recycling.
2011-2013: Number of returned cartridges reaches 300,000 tonnes
In 2011, the number of European countries where Canon offers a toner cartridge recycling programme increases to 18. The next year, in 2012, the global collection volume of toner cartridges reaches 300,000 tonnes. In 2013 Canon Bretagne introduces an entirely new materials recycling process.
2015: Canon celebrates 25th anniversary of recycling programme.
Learn more about Canon’s Global Recycling Programme by clicking the top banner to visit the anniversary website.
Facts and Figures
Between 1990 and 2018 Canon has collected and recycled more than 408,000 tonnes of cartridges globally. In the same period Canon has also saved more than 601,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, a major contributor to climate change.
By recovering, re-using and recycling parts from used toner cartridges Canon has been able to reduce its reliance on new raw materials by more than 285,000 tonnes between 1990 and 2018.
Green Apple Award 2015
The International Green Apple Environment Awards is an annual campaign to recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice around the world. The Canon toner cartridge recycling programme was selected from over 500 entries and presented the Gold Award for Environmental Best Practice.
The Circulars 2016 - People’s Choice Award
The Circulars is an annual awards programme and initiative of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum that aims to recognise organisations across the globe who have made a notable contribution to driving circular economy principles. The Canon cartridge recycling programme was shortlisted for this prestigious award by a distinguished panel of judges and then declared the winner by the public who voted for Canon.