How to recycle printer’s waste – the right way could cut costs for your print business

Did you know the UK is the fifth-largest print products manufacturer in the world? That also means we produce significant volumes of printer’s waste.

Like any business, print companies are looking to reduce their costs.

One key area they could focus on is recycling that printer’s waste, cutting costs and making their businesses more sustainable.


What sort of items are included in printer waste?

There are two sorts of commercial printing – digital and lithograph. Both produce waste items including:

  • Offcuts of card and paper
  • Spoiled printed items at the start of a print run or when a printer jams
  • Confidential paper waste
  • Waste ink
  • Aluminium plates
  • Old electric and electronic equipment (WEEE waste)
  • Wooden pallets


How can these items be recycled?

Paper and card are the easiest materials to recycle. They are shredded and pulped and made into the new card, paper, or chipboard.

As printers produce a large amount of this waste, it is often a valuable commodity which can be sold on as bulk Bulk Waste, creating a new income stream for a print business.

Waste inks can be filtered and reconditioned and used again or solidified and turned into fuel blocks for some energy from waste plants.

WEEE waste must be recycled under strict electronic waste guidelines, and much of it can be re-used in some form.

The aluminium plates used in some forms of printing can be recycled many times. They are melted into ingots and often turned into new plates or used in car manufacture.

Wooden pallets can be reconditioned, repaired, and re-used or shredded for use in fibreboard or chipboard, as animal bedding, or used as a biomass fuel.


What should your print business be doing?

Talking to expert waste consultants helps you understand how to cut costs, improve recycling rates, and attract clients who want to use an eco-friendly, sustainable business.

There are some things which you should be doing to maximise the potential revenue from card and paper waste and to help keep your business data safe…

  1. Ensure you have a clean storage area where you can keep offcuts of paper and card in their best condition for sale.
  2. Consider using a compactor and baler to reduce transportation costs and get the best price for your bulk waste. The smaller the volume of your waste, the more bales which can be fitted into a lorry’s container.
  3. Keep your confidential waste in a secure skip. Printers often produce spoiled ballot papers, stamps, staff directories, and vouchers which should not get into the wrong hands. This also helps your business comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  4. Set a target to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. It’s expensive, thanks to landfill tax and gate fees, so offset the cost of any extra recycling against the savings you make not sending waste to landfill sites.


Need help recycling printer’s waste? Call our expert waste consultants on 0333 360025 or arrange a call back Contact Us.