Printing business waste reduction

Printing business common types of waste


The most cost-effective way of dealing with waste - and the best for the environment - is usually to reduce or eliminate it, then to reuse, recover or recycle it. You should only send waste to landfill as a last resort. Most waste from printing businesses can be reused or recycled.

You can recycle the majority of papers. Some waste recycling businesses may charge a fee to cover the collection and treatment costs, though this will always be less than the cost of disposing to landfill.

Many manufacturers now offer a return service to allow you to return printer cartridges for recycling. However, some toners contain dangerous substances and must be treated as hazardous waste at the end of their life. This may not prevent it being collected for recycling, but there are legal requirements to ensure that the waste is transferred correctly and safely.

Toner bottles are sometimes a problem for recycling because the toner dust contaminates the plastic and causes a handling problem. The plastic bottle is also very bulky and lightweight and thus has a low recycling value to plastic reprocessors. A collection scheme solely for toner bottles could have a negative environmental effect because of the transport requirements caused by the bulkiness of the product.

Some manufacturers have established recycling systems for toner bottles as part of an overall recovery programme. You should discuss the best way to deal with toner bottles with your supplier.

Liquids are banned from landfill and must be stored in secure containers. Hazardous waste can only be handled by specialist businesses. There are a number of waste management businesses that specialise in the disposal of printing waste.

Compact discs and DVDs can be readily recycled. They are collected and placed into batches before being treated and sold to injection moulding businesses for reuse.

You must comply with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations, which require you to handle electrical and electronic equipment separately from other waste.