Recycling Operations

Recycling Operations

In 1990, Canon introduced a cartridge recycling program for all-in-one laser beam printer toner cartridges through its Clean Earth Campaign Program. The goal of the program is to achieve zero landfill waste by reusing parts, recycling materials, and employing energy recovery. Canon’s all-in-one cartridges have components that can be recycled and reused by Canon. 

In 1996, Canon Environmental Technologies, Inc. (CETI) was built in Gloucester, VA to support the cartridge recycling program in North America. CETI carries out "closed-loop recycling" of the toner cartridges it collects, putting their parts, as well as the materials that go into them, back to use in manufacturing new cartridges. By achieving a high-quality recycling process for these parts and materials, we have created a system that lets us turn them back into toner cartridges. 

CETI disassembles the returned cartridges into their various components and individual parts. Components that can be used again, such as charging and magnetic rollers, are cleaned and inspected before being reused in new cartridges. The toner's plastic container, or housing, is broken down into material for creating new cartridges. Components and materials are inspected using the same quality standards applied to new parts. Once they pass this inspection, they are reused in new cartridges ("closed-loop" recycling).

Parts that are not reused directly are broken down and sorted into iron, aluminum, various types of plastic, and other materials and then recycled for other purposes ("open-loop" recycling).  Toner cannot be reused, so it is utilized as a heat source (energy recovery). Even the incineration ash is recycled for use in roadbed materials and in cement, thereby allowing Canon to realize recovery without landfills through four global recycling sites. As part of our commitment to the corporate philosophy of Kyosei, absolutely no landfill waste is generated in the recycling of our toner cartridges.


The toner cartridges collected by Canon around the globe weigh a total of some 287,000 metric tons.* Through this toner cartridge recycling program, we have achieved a cumulative reduction in the use of new resources of 185,000 tons and reduced CO2 emissions by 430,000 tons.

*Figures are results for 2011.

At Canon Virginia, we take our role as an environmental leader seriously. We strive to continuously improve and positively impact our environment.  Our environmental efforts have earned us numerous state and local awards for our innovative processes and compliance excellence.