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TonerTopUp supplies toner refills for laser printers, fax machines and copiers from the UK. We supply bottles of toner and laser printer refill kits to make refilling cartridges easy. Laser toner cartridges can be simply refilled several times to save you money. Environmentally friendly! We supply HP Hewlett Packard Brother Canon Epson Lexmark Konica Minolta QMS OKI Samsung Xerox laser refill toner and many other types!

Environmental benefits of  toner refills

Refilling your laser printer cartridges with refill toner is good for the environment.

We look at the benefits, suggest actions that you may like to take, discuss some of the issues involved and provide a series of links for more information on this and other ways of helping the environment.

What action can you take?

Environmental benefits of  refilling

There are four ways of reusing your laser printer cartridges to the benefit of the environment. When cartridges are empty it does not mean that they are worn out!


You can refill them yourself with bottles of TonerTopUp refill toner until some component does wear out. This is the equivalent of filling up your car with petrol except that you cannot do it so many times before a component will wear out. An average is around three times. This is the most economical way of recycling and is simple to do. Go to our product selector page to select the right refill toner for your laser printer. We recommend for maximum savings that you combine this with using remanufactured cartridges when you need to replace a worn out one after several refills.


You can buy remanufactured toner cartridges yourself. About 23% of cartridges used in Britain are remanufactured and they are less expensive than the original manufacturer’s cartridges and many are guaranteed to give good results for the life of the cartridge. Cartridges are sometimes remanufactured several times. (Many remanufacturers will only use cartridges that have had a single use.) We do not currently supply remanufactured cartridges and suggest that a web search using “remanufactured laser printer cartridges UK” will produce a list of suppliers.

If you do not wish to refill yourself, you can return your empty cartridges for professional remanufacturing. You will not save as much money in this way as refilling your own cartridges but you will be effectively recycling the cartridge. To resell (or give to charity) your empty cartridges try
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d) RETURN EMPTIES that cannot be remanufactured for material recycling.
Until recently we could not suggest a green way to dispose of empty cartridges after they have been refilled until they are worn out or indeed empty remanufactured cartridges which are generally not acceptable for remanufacturing another time. We are now pleased to say that Impact Recycling Ltd offer a collection service and will strip and re granulate the plastic content of worn out empties, at least in Kent, Sussex, Essex and London.

Often the only effect of a chip is to cause the printer to show incorrectly that toner is low when a refilled cartridge is used. Some printer models use the same basic cartridge but require the cartridge to carry the correct chip for the model. This complicates supply to an extent. We can supply replacement chips for many of the cartridges that use them along with our bottled toner.

Environmental Benefits of refilling with toner refills

Environmental benefits of refilling with toner refills

There are two sides to the environmental benefit from refilling cartridges.

a) Fewer natural, non renewable resources are used.

Between 1 and 2 litres of oil is used in the manufacture of a typical laser printer cartridge. For each refill of toner one less cartridge is made and this amount of oil is saved. As oil is a non renewable natural resource, refilling your cartridges makes a significant contribution to its conservation. Other materials used in the manufacture of a cartridge include aluminium and steel. Approximately 44 million laser printer cartridges are sold each year in Europe. 73.5% of these are used only once. The UK is particularly poor in this respect and 95% are only used once. Around 48 million ink jet cartridges are sold in Europe each year, 81% of these are only used once and each contains around 70 grams of oil.

b) Less non-biodegradable plastic and other material is disposed of in landfills.
The majority of discarded laser printer cartridges are disposed of in land fill. This amounts to some 10,000 tonnes of material a year in Britain. The plastic and other material in the cartridge will not degrade for many centuries.

It is clear that by reusing your laser printer and ink jet cartridges you are taking an environmentally responsible line and making a significant contribution.

Environmental benefits of  toner refills

What are the issues in this area at the moment?

Even though sales of laser printers in Europe were stagnant in 2001, sales of cartridges grew strongly with sales of OEM cartridges rising by 8%. Growth has continued since then. This means that more are being used per printer. Whilst this may be partly due to increased print volumes, a major part of the growth is due to the trend to print more pages including graphics that use more toner per page. This increases the relative importance and benefit of refilling cartridges over replacing them. The predictions into the future include a large increase in the proportion of colour output on laser printers with a corresponding growth in both the numbers and value of cartridges used right across the world.

The majority of printer supplies all round the world are from the Original Equipment Manufacturers. They charge high prices and derive good profits from the consumables they sell. (Some do include recycled parts.) They naturally strive to protect their lucrative business. There is a continuing battle in the market place between the Original Equipment Manufacturers and companies selling refilled cartridges.

The benefits of refilling and reuse of the cartridges are widely recognised but inertia and occasional problems with commercially refilled cartridges mean that still the majority buy OEM. For instance the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated the use of remanufactured cartridges for all Federal agencies.

There has been a lot of controversy recently about the policy started by Lexmark of giving a discount on their own cartridges for certain printers on the basis that they are NOT refilled. This is the condition for the discount. The remanufacturing industry worldwide does not like this restrictive practice as it affects their market. They have successfully campaigned against it in New York State, so that public bodies cannot buy printers where such restrictive practices are in place. These restrictions are generally ignored and Lexmark do not appear to take action against those using remanufactured or refilled "Prebate" cartridges.

The Original Equipment Manufacturers are continually striving to protect their lucrative position in the supplies market in other ways. Recently some manufacturers have added chips to their cartridges. This makes refilling and remanufacturing more difficult as it takes a while for the remanufacturers to copy the chips. Lexmark have recently taken legal action against the manufacturer of such a replacement chip and the action has taken some years to be resolved. News in 2006 is that they have lost their case!

The pressure for the reduction of the amount of waste disposed of in landfill and increasing emphasis on manufacturers’ responsibility to consider and plan for the whole life of a product, including its eventual disposal, are both current issues in Britain and Europe. The WEE ( Waste Electrical and Electronic) directive finally came into force in July 2006 after many delays and it creates obligations on the supply chain in respect of the disposal of end of life equipment. Its operation is going to take a while to grind into action! Reuse of laser printer cartridges by all different means is likely to grow.

Amidst all the confusion surrounding the classification and handling of waste and the licensing of waste disposal, it is interesting to note that laser printer cartridges were at one stage added to to the list of "hazardous waste" and have subsequently been removed again from that classification. As the components are not intrinsically hazardous that makes good sense but it supports the view that although generally the direction and intent of the recent wave of regulation may be good, the practical implementation has been completely shambolic!

We present a list of links to other sites that you may find useful or interesting covering environmentally sound ways of saving money in the office environment.


Links to other Environmental Information




TonerTopUp is a trading name of Smith & Young Sales Ltd
The White House, Toys Hill, Westerham, Kent TN16 1QG England
Tel: 01732 750364

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Any names used on this web site are used for descriptive purposes and are hereby expressly acknowledged as the trademarks of their owner.
Bottles may contain more or less toner than is required for any specific model.
Prices are subject to change without notice from those displayed.
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