Each year, approximately 375 million used printer cartridges end up in landfills.

To help in the battle against electronic waste, Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa, in partnership with Carbon Footprint Recycling, are encouraging businesses to participate in their recycle, reduce and re-use programme.

“Consumption of toner is on the rise and the volume of waste is increasing,” says Paul Wendlandt, customer services support manager, Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa. “How we treat toner waste today is important, both for corporate citizenship and the environment. We need to start changing our habits and finding useful things to do with this waste.”

As part of the responsible recycler programme, companies that sign up receive a recycling bin from Kyocera to collect used printer cartridges. These are then collected and recycled by Carbon Footprint Recycling into concrete-based planter boxes, which are donated to community projects.

To date, 13 585 kilograms of collected material have been recycled into planters, benches and pavers and importantly, have been diverted away from landfill sites. Fergus Slattery, director at Carbon Footprint Recycling, says, “We can’t think that when we throw things away, they are gone. They have to go somewhere and I wanted to find a sustainable way of recycling printer cartridges.”

As the first company to sign up, Murray & Roberts has collected and recycled 148 kilograms of cartridges. Sixteen recycled planters were donated to Ithembelihle School in Germiston, Gauteng, to assist the school’s vegetable growing project.

“The planter boxes will be used to grow seedlings that will later be transplanted to raised tyre gardens for further growth,” said Leonor Ngozi, principal at Ithembelihle School.

“Most days, scholars arrive at school without having had breakfast. Healthy meals are important for building the learners’ immune systems, particularly those who are on chronic medication. We are so excited about this project and wish more companies would get involved, so that we can expand our garden to be able to send vegetables home with our learners.”

Hilton Currie, Murray & Roberts chief information officer, says, “This project aligns with our corporate social responsibility and commitment to reduce our carbon footprint.”