HP closed loop ink cartridge recycling

HP is embracing the circular economy across its value chain by closing the material loop, designing out waste, and offering service models that deliver alternatives to linear life cycles. Highlighting HP’s approach is a closed loop recycling program in which plastic from HP ink and toner cartridges recovered via the HP Planet Partners program is combined with other plastics to create new HP ink supplies.

Developed in collaboration with recycling and materials supplier partners, during the past 11 years HP’s solution has used over 108 million pounds of recycled plastic from over 382 million HP ink cartridges and recycled plastic from over 3 billion water bottles and 40 million apparel hangers to manufacture over 2.5 billion closed-loop ink cartridges.

More than 75% of HP ink cartridges and 24% of HP LaserJet toner cartridges contain recycled plastics, and HP continues to expand the use of closed loop materials in its products.

HPs closed-loop process diagram for ink and toner

HP has commissioned periodic life cycle assessments to measure the environmental impact of its programs. One study looked at our recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) initiative. RPET plastic from this process has a 33% lower carbon footprint and 54% lower fossil fuel consumption in its production than new plastic—even when accounting for the environmental impact associated with collecting, transporting, and processing used cartridges and plastic bottles1.

Manufacturing Original HP ink cartridges with recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 13,150 tonnes in 2013 and 2014—equivalent to taking 2,768 cars off the road for one year2. We have built on this success with further closed loop plastics initiatives involving recycled polypropylene (RPP)—polypropylene is used in a significant percentage of HP’s inkjet supplies. HP has shortened its innovation cycle with each successive program. The RPP programs combined with the existing RPET initiative have led to more than 75% of our Original HP ink cartridges containing recycled plastic. In addition, 24% of HP LaserJet toner cartridges contain recycled plastic.

Nearing the end of 2015, we have manufactured more than 2.5 billion Original HP ink and toner cartridges. Through this process, HP has contributed to the circular economy by keeping 628 million cartridges, 40 million polypropylene hangers, and 3 billion postconsumer plastic bottles out of landfills. Learn more.

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1 For RPET cartridges produced in 2013 and beyond. Based on a 2014 life cycle assessment performed by Four Elements Consulting and commissioned by HP. The study compared the environmental impact of using polyethelene terephthalate (PET) plastic with the environmental impact of using recycled PET to manufacture new Original HP ink cartridges. See details.

2 Calculated with the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. See details.

Close up of cartridge with recycled content