Planet Ark's war on high tech wastage has kept over 1.4 million printer cartridges from landfills since the start of its Cartridges for Planet Ark program 18 months ago, but its fight with cartridge remanufacturers continues.
When the program started, the Australasian Cartridge Remanufacturers Association (ACRA) reportedly criticised the OEM/Planet Ark strategy, saying the campaign did not attempt to reuse cartridges, and only recycled them.
However, Planet Ark's managing director, Jon Dee, said the ACRA "knew this to be a false claim."
"One of their members remanufactured Panasonic printer cartridges collected by the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program," he said, adding that 60 per cent of laser toner cartridges collected by the program were sent to the original equipment manufacturers for remanufacturing or component recovery programs.
ACRA executive officer, Graham McCusker, acknowledged the environmental watchdog's statistics, but added that the ACRA had not observed any large-scale supply of remanufactured cartridges from Planet Ark's partnered manufacturers.
"We are aware of Planet Ark's assertion that 60 per cent of printer cartridges collected are returned to the manufacturers, but we have been unable to confirm this from independent sources," he said
McCusker expressed disappointment that Planet Ark had not exerted pressure on its commercial sponsors to concentrate on reducing the number and toxicity of the materials used in their products.
But Dee hit back, explaining that "Planet Ark works with many industries which we encourage to minimise their impact on the environment and take responsibility for the waste they generate."
"That is why we set up 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark'," he said.
The remaining cartridges from the program are recycled at "Close the Loop", a recycling facility in Melbourne.
"To the best of our knowledge, the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark recycling program was the first recycling program in the world to guarantee zero waste to landfill from its recycling process," Dee said.
Despite initiatives by the ACRA and Planet Ark, 80 per cent of the 18 million cartridges disposed by Australians each year still end up in landfills.
Businesses interested in having their own free Cartridges 4 Planet Ark bin and collection service can freecall 1800 24 24 73.