Canon toner cartridges recycling programme: closing the loop in 18 countries across Europe

Type of organisation or company
Language for original content
Key Area
Project elaborated in partnership
Submitted by
CSR Europe, The European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility
Start/End date
Type of funding

Canon has been providing a toner cartridge recycling programme since 1990 for all Canon genuine all in one laser cartridges (Canon toner cartridges used in i-Sensys type machines). Today the official programme operates in 18 countries across Europe.

The programme is free of charge to customers within selected geographies across Europe and has been designed to be easy to use to further encourage recycling, using web based systems where customers can download a free post return label.

All cartridges returned are collected and bulked up locally before being shipped for recycling in Canon Bretagne in France, where our toner cartridge recycling programme ensures that every component of Canon toner cartridges are reused or recycled - be it as a component in a new toner cartridge, as a base material in other industries, or as a substitute for fossil fuels. No part of the toner cartridge is sent to landfill.

Components which are not suitable for reuse are broken down and either used to make the casing of the cartridge, are recycled in the open loop recycling system or are recycled as part of energy recovery. For example:

  • The magnetic and the charging roller for example are removed, inspected carefully, cleaned and then reused in the new cartridge. 
  • The remaining toner is used as raw material to make the new cartridge.
  • The housing parts are shredded and used as material for new cartridges.

As much as possible we try to operate a closed loop recycling system with zero waste going to landfill.

Canon has strongly focused on plastic closed-loop recycling during product development right from the design stage - for example, by using plastic materials that better resist the

Main activity field
Identified challenge (s)
Main results

Between 1990 and 2016 Canon has collected and recycled more than 378,000 tonnes of cartridges globally. In the same period Canon has also saved more than 551,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, a major contributor to climate change.

By recovering, re-using and recycling parts from used toner cartridges Canon has been able to reduce its reliance on new raw materials by more than 260,000 tonnes between 1990 and 2016.