Recyclia, through its Ecofimática Foundation, has implemented first collective system for waste toner and ink cartridges

Recyclia, through its Ecofimática Foundation, has implemented Spain’s first collective system for toner and ink cartridge collection and management into operation. Since August 15, the recycling of these products has become the responsibility of their manufacturers. The birth of the new systems, called Tragatóner and Tragatinta, means that

Recyclia now has the capacity to recycle all types of electronic waste. Tragatóner and Tragatinta avail of Recyclia’s resources, synergies and 15 years of experience in the management of office and printing equipment, through
the Ecofimática foundation. Ecofimática represents 90% of the producers of this type of equipment in Spain and has already managed 44,000 tonnes of waste, providing efficient, proven, fully operational solutions that afford significant cost savings.

42,000 collection points

Recyclia expects to collect 1,000 tonnes of printer consumables in the first year (around 6.6 million units), the equivalent of 65% of the weight of products placed on the market by Ecofimática member producers. Ink cartridges, mainly from the domestic channel, will account for 23% of collected waste, while toner cartridges, mainly from the distribution channel, will account for the remaining 77%. Recyclia will base its strategy on proximity to users. For this purpose, in one year alone, it will install 42,000 collection points in large stores and retail establishments, large companies, public buildings and selective collection points. The organisation will also create a website and a mobile application to enable consultation of the closest collection points. The traceability of containers will be certified, from origin, at the distributor or company requesting the collection, through to final
processing at treatment plants.

Legislative change: printer consumables a new electronic waste

Spain currently has two systems operating alongside each other for the collection of empty ink cartridges: each individual producer’s system to recover their own cartridges and management companies that collect cartridges that have resale value for what are known as remanufacturers. Remanufacturers place refilled cartridges on the market once again, thereby reducing the sales of original consumables. Since August 15, printer consumables with electrical components (the majority of such consumables) have been considered electronic equipment and are therefore subject to the same obligations as other hardware. Previously, the environmental responsibility for waste printer consumables lay with users. Now printer consumable producers are responsible for financing and organising the
collection of this waste, and meeting the same collection targets set for other electronic waste. The 2018 target is 55% of the average weight of cartridges placed on the Spanish market in the preceding three years. According to Recyclia, this target would be difficult to achieve with the individual consumable recycling programmes of each producer, because these programmes are limited to the collection of their own products.

Consumable distributors are obliged to collect the old cartridge when consumers acquire a new one. Establishments with a surface area of over 400 m2 must deploy containers for the collection of used consumables, without any obligation on users to make a purchase. Moreover, online distributors will be subject to the same obligations as bricks and mortar establishments