Disassembly and Recycling
Collected toner cartridges are gathered at four bases, in China, the United States, France and Japan, where parts and plastics meeting stringent quality criteria are reused in a closed loop recycling system. All other parts of returned cartridges are also effectively reused as resources, thereby achieving a landfill disposal-free resource recovery.
Our Closed-Loop Recycling of Toner Cartridges
Canon carries out "closed-loop recycling" of the toner cartridges it collects, putting their parts, as well as the materials that go into them, back to use in manufacturing new cartridges. By achieving a high-quality recycling process for these parts and materials, we have created a system that lets us turn them back into toner cartridges on a more or less permanent basis.
Average Recycling Rate of 85%
As producer responsibility, Canon recovers the toner cartridges that customers return to us without generating landfill waste. What makes this possible is our craftsmanship that is premised from the design stage on the cartridges' recyclability. Consideration for the environment goes into every aspect of design, beginning with the selection of materials and their configuration into products up through the processing of used cartridges.
Used Cartridges Get a New Lease on Life
We disassemble the returned cartridges into their various components and individual parts. Components that can be used again, such as charging and magnetic rollers, are cleaned and inspected before being reused in new cartridges. The toner's plastic container, or housing, is broken down into material for creating new cartridges. Components and materials are inspected using the same quality standards applied to new parts. Once they pass this inspection, they are reused in new cartridges ("closed-loop" recycling).
Nothing Goes to Waste
Parts that are not reused directly are broken down and sorted into iron, aluminum, various types of plastic, and other materials and then recycled for other purposes ("open-loop" recycling). Toner cannot be reused, so it is employed as a heat source (energy recovery). Even the incineration ash is recycled for use in roadbed materials and in cement, thereby allowing Canon to realize recovery without landfills through four global recycling site. As part of our commitment to the corporate philosophy of kyosei, absolutely no landfill waste is generated in the recycling of our toner cartridges.
Innovations for achieving high-quality recycling
Compared with metals like iron and aluminum, it is quite difficult to maintain uniform quality when recycling plastic materials, so these are normally recycled for other purposes. To achieve high-quality recycling, Canon has made it possible to recycle plastic materials to meet the same quality standards as new products by innovating the selection of materials, their design, and the recycling process.
- Applying heat can change the quality of plastic materials, which is why we choose our plastics carefully. By using heat-resistant plastic materials we are able to turn them back into toner cartridges on a more or less permanent basis.
- Canon has standardized the main plastic parts in its toner cartridges in order to facilitate recycling. As a rule, the plastics used in our parts are made the same color and type in order to make them easy to sort.
- The most important factor in recycling plastics is the purity of the materials. After the cartridges are broken down, parts are sorted to prevent their mixture with other plastic materials. At one point, adhesives and other foreign materials from stickers were affecting the quality of recycled materials, a problem that was solved by switching to engravings.