Printers and copiers are very useful machines: they make duplicating documents easy, they can help you print photos in a more affordable way and they make school projects a lot easier to do. But while they are essential to life, their printer ink cartridges can be harmful to you and the environment. Different printer ink can release deadly fumes, while ink cartridges are non-biodegradable, adding to land fills and garbage. Both printer ink and ink cartridges can be toxic in many various ways and here are some reasons why normal, regular printer ink can cause damage to your health and the environment as well.
1. Ink cartridges are non-biodegradable. Every year, people around the world add thousands of tons of garbage in landfills and garbage dumps around the world. Used-up printer ink cartridges are also dumped without much thought in garbage and landfills. These cartridges, which are made of high-grade polymers or plastic, can take up to 1,000 years before they decompose. It’s advisable to practice safe ink cartridges recycling to help save the environment from damage done by improper disposal of printer ink cartridges.
2. Ink cartridges can become corrosive. Thousands of printer ink cartridges are dumped in landfills all over the world. These cartridges can, in turn, become corrosive, flammable and reactive. When burned or punctured, printer ink cartridges can explode or release deadly fumes which can harm the environment and even the people living in areas near landfills or dumpsites.
3. Printer ink residue contains Volatile Organic Chemicals (VCOs). VCOs are harmful substances that can cause birth defects, health problems and even cancer. When ink cartridges are disposed, the leftover ink residue in them can release highly toxic VCOs in the air, water or surrounding environment.
4. Laser printer and photocopier toners can be toxic. Laser printer ink and the ink used for photocopiers contain resins and carbon black, which can be toxic and harmful in huge amounts. Your skin can get irritated if it comes into contact with laser printer ink or ink from photocopiers. It’s recommended that you wash your hands immediately after handling laser printer ink cartridges or photocopier ink, especially after ink cartridges recycling.
5. Particles from laser printers can be more dangerous than smoking. A recent study from Queensland’s University of Technology states that laser printers can release super fine, harmful particles that are as dangerous as cigarette smoke or the emissions from motor vehicles. The microscopic particles in the air near laser printers have been tested to be as much as five times higher than that of pollution outdoors.
It’s surprising that a machine you use everyday can actually be harmful to your health and the environment. Both printer ink and ink cartridges can be toxic if not handled carefully and if companies and offices do not practice proper ink cartridges recycling. To be free from pollutants and to help keep Mother Earth clean and safe, help by saving printer ink, practicing safe ink recycling and by using only environmentally safe, printer ink.