Toner cartridges are the larger laser cartridges used in office printers, and "compatible" indicates they have already been refilled at least once, or were made by a company other than the manufacturer of your printer. They're often referred to as off-brand / generic versions or 'remanufactured'.
If your empty cartridges are not compatible toner cartridges, try our main empty cartridge recycling guide instead.
Empty compatible toner cartridges are often harder to dispose of as they have no commercial value — they cannot be economically refilled, and the costs of transport, processing and treatment are very high.
Charity collection programmes will not be able to help with your compatible toners — the costs of handling are greater than any possible benefit, and you will just be passing on a liability.
However, don't bin them! They will take thousands of years to degrade in landfill sites, and contain plastics and metals that need specialist treatment. If you are a business, you have a legal obligation to make sure your waste is treated appropriately.
Here are the best reuse and recycling options, which will ensure the least impact on the environment.
Unfortunately, you cannot return compatible cartridges to the printer manufacturer's recycling scheme, as this only covers original/genuine items.
It's pretty rare for compatible manufacturers to provide an alternative free recycling scheme, but it's worth checking on Google using the name of your cartridge's brand.
You may be able to take advantage of office supply stores to recycle your compatible toner cartridges.
Ask your supplier or retailer if they can take back your empties as a courtesy to you as their customer. If you have an ongoing print management contract, this should be included free of charge.
If you have only a small number of toners and are happy to pay the postage, you can send your empties to CartridgeSave.
Please bear in mind that a typical Royal Mail 2nd class small parcel (under 2kg) will cost you £3.20, and a typical toner cartridge is 1-2kg.
If you have a larger number, you will need to pay a commercial recycler to handle these. This works out as about £1 per cartridge if you fill a box with 25.
They take any ink cartridges, laser cartridges, toner bottles, waste toner cassettes, imaging / drum units, fuser units, and transfer belts for printers.
75% of empty cartridges in the UK are not recycled even though there are plenty of reuse and recycling options, and many of them are free and easy to use.
A typical cartridge, with its plastics and electronics, will take up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill site, but having an empty cartridge reused saves up to 2.5kg of CO2 compared to making a new cartridge from scratch.
EveryCartridge.com is here to help you to find and use the many services that exist locally and nationwide, and cut through the misinformation to ensure that your cartridges do not go to landfill.