Responsible Purchasing Network

Toner Cartridges: Handy Facts



  • Producing a new OEM cartridge consumes approximately three quarts of oil, which can be saved by using remans rather than OEMs (StopWaste, undated).
  • Over 350 million ink and toner cartridges are disposed of each year in the United States and this volume is increasing by 12 percent annually (Business Wire, 2008).
  • These cartridges contain engineering-grade polymers that can take over 1,000 years to decompose (CA, undated).
  • Up to 6 million barrels of oil could be saved each year if these cartridges were remanufactured and replaced with OEMs (RPN, 2008).
  • OEM cartridge manufacturing uses 5 to 9 pounds of virgin material per cartridge (StopWaste, undated).
  • A typical toner cartridge weighs 3 pounds and is composed of:  40% Plastic; 40% Metal; 20% Rubber, foam, and paper (StopWaste, undated).
  • Cartridge remanufacturers in the United States reuse over 35 thousand tons of plastic and save over 400,000 barrels of oil each year (Sandoval, 2004; ClickPress, 2006).
  • Cartridges can typically be reused up to three times before disposal.
  • When remanufacturing is not an option, cartridges should be recycled, as over 95% of the component weight is recyclable (StopWaste, undated).
  • There are an estimated 2,000 cartridge remanufacturers in the United States (many of which are small, local businesses), who produce over 27 million remans each year (Judge, 2008; Sandoval, 2004).
  • Over $25 billion is spent worldwide on ink and toner cartridges annually (Sandoval, 2004).
  • Remans cost 30% to 60% less than OEM cartridges on a cost-per-copy basis (INFORM, undated).
  • Remans often contain up to 20% more toner or ink than OEM cartridges, which extends their useful life (CA, undated).
  • King County, Washington purchased 7,250 remanufactured cartridges at a total cost of nearly $270,000 in 2005 and saved $300,000 compared to the cost of OEM cartridges (King County, undated).
  • The City of Toronto reduced costs by 60% per cartridge when switching to remans (City of Toronto, 2006).
  • Remans from certified suppliers are as reliable and offer the same quality standards as OEM cartridges (StopWaste, undated).
  • By federal law in the United States, the use of remans cannot be the basis for voiding manufacturer equipment warranties (Nikolayev, 2008).


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