Return & Recycle

Return, Reuse & Recycle

Product return - reuse & recycle

Lexmark continuously seeks new ways to reduce its footprint. While making great strides in waste reduction at our global manufacturing facilities, Lexmark also provides an opportunity for our customers to reduce their waste and increase the number of Lexmark products that are reused and recycled.

By incorporating Life Cycle Assessment results in our product design process, we develop sustainable products that combine high standards of performance, efficiency, and environmental stewardship through each life cycle stage. At the end of product life, Lexmark recovers components and parts to reuse or recycle via our customer return methods: the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP) and the Lexmark Equipment Collection Program (LECP).

Click here for additional information on Lexmark’s product return and recycle programs.

Return Program - supplies

Lexmark is pleased to offer our printer customers the choice of using Lexmark Return Program cartridges for many Lexmark printer families. Lexmark Return Program cartridges are sold at a discount versus the price of regular cartridges in exchange for the customer's agreement to use the cartridge only once and return it only to Lexmark for remanufacturing or recycling. Regular cartridges without this single-use term are sold at regular prices. Regular cartridges, which may be refilled and/or remanufactured (if the original Lexmark chip is kept), are available on lexmark.com. Regular cartridges are also recyclable at no cost through  the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program. Lexmark reuses or recycles Return Program cartridges, keeping them out of the waste stream.

Cartridge collection

Our extensive cartridge collection network has made Lexmark an industry leader in the recovery, remanufacturing, and recycling of used toner cartridges. In 2023, through the efforts of Lexmark customers, 36% of the total Lexmark branded and designed toner cartridges shipped worldwide were returned through the LCCP. In some regions, the return rate was higher. For example, the United States continues to average approximately 50% return rates. We estimate the industry average collection rates to be between 20 and 30%.

Lexmark toner cartridge collections

Extending material life

Lexmark is the world's leading remanufacturer of Lexmark supplies. Our products are designed and optimized for a cycle of disassembly and reuse. Lexmark develops innovative processes to divert reclaimed materials from waste streams and cycle them back into new products. Our processes provide the opportunity to reduce waste through the reuse of toner, cartridge components, and materials. In 2023, 66% of the cartridges and other supplies returned to Lexmark were reused. We have a goal to increase this to 80% by 2025. 

 


 

 



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Lexmark’s R2 certified recycling plant

Lexmark's recycling plant was established in 2007 in Juárez, Mexico, to provide customers a place to return their empty laser cartridges for responsible end-of-life reuse or recycling. The LCCP processes approximately 13,000 empty toner cartridges per day. Select components in empty cartridges are removed and reprocessed for reuse. Since 1991, Lexmark incorporated more than 46,000 metric tons of materials recovered through the LCCP into the production of laser cartridges. Reuse efforts at our recycling facility support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to increase resource efficiency and promote responsible production.

The LCCP facility complies with the highest industry standards and best practices for environmental responsibility by using a tracking and accountability system to manage all materials recovered. The LCCP plant is a Responsible Recycling (R2) certified facility that safely recycles and manages electronics based upon an accredited, third-party auditor. LCCP has achieved other certifications such as ISO 14001 for environmental management, OHSAS 18001 for Occupational Health and Safety and ISO 9001 for quality management. The 99,000 square-foot facility is also a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified building.

Cartridge collection around the world

Each year, the LCCP prevents millions of Lexmark print cartridges from ending up in landfills. This program encourages our customers to return used print cartridges to Lexmark free of charge so that we can reuse and recycle them. Our collection programs are currently available in over 60 countries, which represent approximately 90% of our global market.

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Watch to learn more about our innovative Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program

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Resource conservation through recycling and reuse

Lexmark is actively embracing the emerging concept of a circular economy—a restorative industrial system focused on maximizing the utility and value of products and materials while also eliminating waste. Our long-standing support for the circular economy is evident in Lexmark’s founding membership in the European Remanufacturing Council (CER). The CER focuses on remanufacturing policy and encourages sustainability and remanufacturing initiatives.

Our pioneering LCCP provides a great example of remanufacturing through resource recirculation of pre-owned supplies. In addition to reducing landfill waste, the LCCP conserves natural resources through reuse and recycling. When handling used cartridges, we strive for the top levels of the standard environmental hierarchy. Landfill disposal and incineration without energy recovery are the least desirable options; while recycling and reuse produce the greatest sustainability benefit for the environment. Therefore, Lexmark follows a zero-landfill and zero-incineration without energy recovery policy by reusing or recycling cartridges returned from customers.

In 2023, LCCP collected 4,533 metric tons of returned cartridges from our customers worldwide with 29% or 1,320 metric tons reused and 66% or 2,980 metric tons recycled. Energy was generated from 4% or 157 metric tons of toner waste collected from worldwide locations. Material in storage, pending processing was 2% or 76 metric tons. Zero metric tons or 0% of returned cartridge material was landfilled and zero metric tons or 0% was incinerated without energy recovery.  Since 1991, Lexmark has redirected over 165,000 metric tons of material away from landfills using the LCCP. 


Since 1991, Lexmark has reused over 46,000 metric tons of recovered cartridge material by converting millions of used toner cartridges into Lexmark-certified remanufactured toner cartridges. The eligible cartridges are disassembled and cleaned, and then the critical components are replaced with genuine Lexmark parts. Finally, each remanufactured cartridge is tested to assure the same high quality output and reliable performance as a cartridge with all new components.

If a returned cartridge is not a good candidate for remanufacturing, it is disassembled in such a way to maximize the materials recovered for use in secondary products. Examples of materials given a second life include toner as an asphalt additive to improve quality and performance, and post-consumer recycled plastic integrated into new parts. For more information on Lexmark's reclaimed plastic, please visit Lexmark reuses tons of plastic and the Materials section of this report.

In 2023, we recycled or reused over 4,500 metric tons of plastic, metals, and packaging. We were able to materially recycle or reuse 100% of the reclaimed plastic with 1,033 metric tons reused in new products and 542 metric tons recycled. Our PCR closed-loop process was used to grind and pelletize 113 metric tons of the plastic extracted for reuse. Conserving materials for reuse in our products means fewer raw materials to be mined or extracted, thus reducing the impact on the environment.
 

Additional component recycling

  • Toner

    TonerPave™ by Close the Loop produces asphalt with recycled material. In 2023, Lexmark captured 611 metric tons of toner from recycled printer cartridges and manufacturing processes. Close the Loop recycled 357 metric tons of recovered toner into asphalt, including 82 tons from prior storage. Lexmark has newly implemented a process that cleans returned toner, and with this process, was able to reuse 211 tons of toner in new cartridges in 2023. Waste to energy processes consumed 125 tons. For more information on TonerPave, click here.

  • Developer roll

    Creating a cleaning process to extend the life of a laser printer component was no easy task for Lexmark engineers. Before the new cleaning process, the developer roll in a laser cartridge was rarely a part of a Lexmark remanufactured cartridge. The roll possesses a difficult-to-clean film of toner on the rubber surface that inhibited its reuse. Testing revealed the roll had an extensive life if the film of toner was removed. Lexmark engineers created a novel washing system to remove the toner film using ceramic agitators with scrubbing agents to clean the roll without damaging it or altering its properties. Reuse of developer rolls results in substantial environmental savings by eliminating the need to harvest new raw materials. In 2023, 313,067 rolls were reused in remanufactured cartridges, providing savings of 91 metric tons of material.

  • Photoconductor drum

    Lexmark devices contain photoconductor units, which are imaging cylinders with photosensitive coatings. In 2023, 245,588 photoconductors from our returned cartridges were collected and sent to our facilities in Boulder, Colorado, for recoating and reuse. An additional 203,000 photoconductors were recovered from the manufacturing line, resulting in the reuse of 36.5 metric tons of aluminum.

Click here for additional information on Lexmark’s LCCP program. For information on cartridge collection in Europe for medium and large businesses click here.

Equipment collection

Lexmark offers our customers environmentally sound choices for disposal of their end-of-life products. Electronic waste, including printers that have reached the end of their usable lives, is recycled through our Lexmark Equipment Collection Program (LECP) by specialized firms with processes to meet state and legislative requirements. The firms we choose are committed to recycling devices in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

End-of-life electronic product recycling

Lexmark partners with recyclers that offer a broad range of services and processing capabilities, are ISO 14001 certified (the environmental management system standard), and are certified R2 or e-Stewards.

The R2 (Responsible Recycling) Standard is a comprehensive global criteria for e-recyclers and requires responsible management of used computers and electronics. This standard is managed by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI). The e-Stewards Standard is a rigorous, internationally compliant certification from Basil Action Network (BAN) based on ISO 14001 that assures full conformance to a comprehensive suite of electronics recycling best practices. Both SERI and BAN are working to ensure the electronics recycling industry is environmentally sustainable. Our recycling partners are audited regularly to ensure that they continue to maintain the high level of service and regulatory compliance that we expect of our recycling partners.
 

Our recycling partners
The primary U.S. and European Lexmark recycling partner, Sims Recycling Solutions, is one of the world’s largest electronics recycler and is R2 certified. Lexmark’s recycling partner in Canada is Quantum Lifecycle Partners, an ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 45001 and R2 certified recycler. Quantum works with Lexmark to recycle our consumer and corporate products and their packaging materials. Quantum provides comprehensive processing facilities for e-waste designed to effectively recover materials of electronic equipment.

Sims Recycling Solutions and Global Electronic Recycling (GER) handle our electronic waste from Mexico. GER is an ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and R2/RIOS™ Certified Electronics Recycler. Our recyclers processed more than 4,426 metric tons of electronic waste on behalf of Lexmark in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific in 2023.

The Lexmark service organization works with our recycling partners to reclaim parts that can be used to refurbish printers, which keeps the printers in service longer and reduces the need to recycle used hardware. Devices that are returned to Lexmark go through a process that assesses if they can be refurbished for reuse, and if not, they are harvested for parts that can be used in the refurbishment process.

Lexmark has additional programs in place to recycle printer packaging or other Lexmark hardware. Lexmark has established a shipping container reuse and recycle program with our primary electronic waste recycling partner. Additionally, wooden pallets are reused and recycled (damaged pallets are chipped and used as mulch), and certain types of Styrofoam are sent to an extruder for reuse.

Click here for additional information on Lexmark’s LECP program.

Click here to view the R2 certificate.

Electronic waste recycling by location