Printer cartridge recycling a pioneer in product stewardship

Printer cartridge recycling a pioneer in product stewardship

By Nicholas Scaltrito  March 7th, 2022

Since 2003, Cartridges 4 Planet Ark has maintained a zero waste to landfill certification that has seen over 49 million cartridges collected and recycled.  


Cartridges 4 Planet Ark was established in collaboration with Planet Ark and Close the Loop to offer Australians a free, easy, and environmentally accredited way to dispose of their printer cartridges. This partnership has been instrumental in setting an industry standard for circular solutions in both commercial and residential sectors. 

Beau Boundy from Planet Ark with a toner cartridge that will become TonerPlas ™, proudly produced by Close the Loop

For Close the Loop, what started as a small operation in Melbourne has now expanded into the USA and Europe. Over the years this innovative business has been able to realise its potential within the emerging circular economy and streamline its ‘waste’-to-resource supply chain.  

The company’s services include all aspects of product stewardship, from designing products with circularity in mind, effective collection programs, keeping products and materials in circulation for as long as possible and developing innovative end use solutions.  

“We must create resilient markets through innovation. Collection and processing is just the start, [we] must rally support from government and industry to embrace new materials, change outdated barriers to entry and change counterproductive relationships that block progress.” says Steve Morriss, founder of Close the Loop.  

The partnership between Cartridges 4 Planet Ark and Close the Loop has driven significant innovation for recycling solutions. Aside from recycling used print materials into new cartridges, inks and pens, Close the Loop has led the development of eWood, a timber alternative made from recycled rigid plastics.

Perhaps even more significant is TonerPlas ™, an award-winning asphalt additive refined in partnership with Downer. The real breakthrough of TonerPlas ™ is the circular supply chain model which has been developed to turn plastic waste into a high-performance asphalt road.  

Used toner cartridges are collected via the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program and then recycled in Australia by Close the Loop. Waste soft plastics are also collected by REDcycle from collection points across the country and shipped to Close the Loop where the recycled resources are combined. The result is a 100 per cent recycled asphalt additive that improves the performance and life span of asphalt roads by around 15 per cent.   

You can get involved by supporting the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program, which directly supplies Close the Loop with recycled cartridges and print supplies, and by recycling your soft plastics through REDcycle. 

Find your closest soft plastics recycling location at Business Recycling.    


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Nicholas Scaltrito

Nick joined Planet Ark in 2021 coming from a background of graphic design and marketing communications. A self-described “jack-of-all-trades’, Nick likes to channel his helpful nature and enthusiasm for change in all aspects of life from his social life and work to his community volunteering.

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