Refill: Keep toner moduls in circulation!

Since two years, the company Eurotoner has been newly owned by two entrepreneurs from the district of Melk and currently employs nine people at the company's location in Persenbeug-Gottsdorf. The company has 30 years of experience in the recycling of toner and practical environmental protection. Now Eurotoner is the new licensee of the Austrian Ecolabel for "refillable toners".

According to a German study commissioned by the environmental services Interseroh, the reuse of a single toner cartridge saves 4.49 kg of greenhouse gas emissions compared to new production. In addition, 9.39 kg of primary resources are saved per cartridge. Using such remanufactured toner modules for copiers and printers is extremely sustainable and usually costs significantly less than a new cartridge.

Toner modules for laser printers and copiers must always be replaced as soon as the toner powder is used up. In Austria, it is estimated that about seven million ink cartridges and one million toner cartridges are currently consumed per year, and the trend is rising. When it comes to buying toner modules for replacement, attention is paid to tinctorial power, print image, etc., but less to the effects on the environment, health and climate. The potential here is huge. Empty toner cartridges contain many resources, but such toner cartidges are still thermally utilized, i.e. burned.

For comparison: reuse before recycling

In addition, 9.39 kg of primary resources are saved per cartridge. By comparison, recycling a defective cartridge saves 0.41 kg greenhouse gas emissions and 1.94 kg resources. The study thus provides evidence of the environmental benefits of a consistent ReUe strategy.

Collection system for empty toner cartridges

The prerequisite for meaningful reuse or recycling is that empty cartridges are actually sent for reprocessing via collection systems. According to the German study, the environmental service Interseroh, which offers such collection systems, was able to take back a total of around 1.4 million used cartridges in 2017. Half of these were reprocessed; the other 50 percent went to material recycling due to damage or lack of demand. According to calculations by the Fraunhofer Institute, this recycling practice saved around 6,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and 13,100 tonnes of primary resources.

"Our study illustrates the indispensable contribution that recycling products can make to climate and resource protection," emphasizes Dr. Markus Hiebel, head of the Sustainability and Resource Management department at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. "Multiple-use toner cartridges significantly reduce the burden on the environment - and can still be recycled at the end of their product life cycle. Wherever possible, the Fraunhofer experts recommend that professional reconditioning and reuse should be preferred to material recycling.

The Austrian Ecolabel for remanufactured toner modules

During the remanufacturing process, the collected housing parts, which are still technically in perfect working order, are disassembled, cleaned, consumable parts are replaced and refilled with new toner. The Austrian Ecolabel is only awarded to commercial reprocessors who meet very strict criteria for this work process and the product. The quality of use must be equal to the originals and only original toner modules are considered for remanufacturing. High health standards must also be observed.

Excellent toner modules from Persenbeug

The company Eurotoner Print GmbH from Persenbeug (Lower Austria) has been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel for a number of recycled toner modules. When purchasing such eco-labelled products, consumers and all those who make commercial purchases can rely with a clear conscience on purchasing a top-quality ecological product with high product benefits. By the way: Depending on the model, a remanufactured toner module costs far less than a new one.

ReUse strategy in public procurement

Under the leadership of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, the criteria of the Austrian Action Plan for Sustainable Public Procurement (short EN version) were revised in 2018 and 2019 together with public clients and experts. However, the decision on the implementation of the criteria by the Council of Ministers is still pending. The product group "IT equipment" now also includes criteria for the procurement of recycled toner modules. Those responsible for procurement can still choose between the procurement of original toner modules and remanufactured toner modules. If they decide to buy remanufactured toner modules, they must purchase modules that meet certain quality requirements as soon as the Council of Ministers has made its decision. For example, the supplier must ensure and document the functionality of the toner modules by means of standardized tests. Reprocessed toner modules certified with the Austrian Ecolabel meet the requirements in any case.