Recyclia collects over 300,000 kg of printer cartridges in 22,500 containers deployed throughout Spain

Tragatóner/Tragatinta has collected over 300,000 kg of ink and toner cartridges in 22,500 containers specifically installed for this type of waste in Spain over the last year.

Tragatóner/Tragatinta expects to reach the figure of 40,000 containers in 2020. The entity is pleased with the high capillarity of collection points achieved throughout the country and the volume of this e-waste managed. The recycling of this type of waste became mandatory on August 15, 2018.

Tragatóner/Tragatinta is the first initiative in Spain to guarantee the separate collection of toner and ink cartridges, in compliance with the new legislation. The entity has the backing of the 15 most important producers of printers in the Spanish market. In fact, the producers and wholesalers that have joined this initiative account for 70% of the printer consumables placed on the market each year.

Since November 2018, when the initiative went into full operation, Recyclia has distributed over 22,500 containers to more than 6,200 companies, organisations, distributors of office and printing equipment, and local bodies.

Domestic users can use a web browser to locate the containers deployed in public locations nearest to their homes, which are called ECOpoints. In 2020, Recyclia plans to extend the ECOpoint network and launch a mobile app to facilitate container location and certification of the traceability of this waste, from collection to treatment at recycling plants.

R&D for greater efficiency

In the past year, Recyclia has intensified collaboration with two treatment plants in Spain, with the aim of increasing the percentage of materials recovered for the manufacture of new products. Currently available recycling techniques enable 44% of plastic, 39% of iron, 13% of toner powder and 4% of aluminium to be recovered from each toner cartridge.  

Recyclia is also collaborating with research centres in a number of different R&D projects to find reuse alternatives for ink and toner powder. The entity is currently evaluating the use of ink powder in the manufacture of paints, while toner powder is being analysed for use as a component of tar for the asphalting of roads, and for gasification. This latter process would enable the recovery of ferrite, which can account for up to 40% of the composition of toner powder. It would then be possible for the recovered ferrite to undergo energy recovery processes. In fact, a kilo of this powder can produce sufficient energy to light an LED bulb for around 300 hours.

According to José Pérez, CEO at Recyclia, “the success of this first year is largely due to our capacity to be pre-empt circumstances and provide a fully operative and efficient solution just months after the new recycling legislation came into effect. This was possible because we have availed of the 15 years of experience of our Ecofimática foundation in the management of over 44,000 tonnes of office and printer equipment”.