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Kyocera’s cartridge recycling project grows resources for community vegetable garden

Kyocera’s cartridge recycling project grows resources for community vegetable garden

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Engineering and mining contractor Murray & Roberts is leading the charge as a responsible recycler, in response to a call made by Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa (KDZA) and Carbon Footprint Recycling, to reduce e-waste by recycling empty toner cartridges and waste toner bottles.

The project encourages companies to send a participation request to Kyocera and agree to an administration fee. In return, they receive a recycling bin and a plastic liner to collect all makes of used printer cartridges. Once the bin is full, the organisation requests collection and the liner is swapped for a new one.

In turn, Carbon Footprint Recycling turns the cartridges into concrete-based planter boxes and other items, that can be used by the participating organisations, or donated to community projects. Importantly, the toners and plastic toner cartridges are safely diverted from landfill.

To date, Carbon Footprint Recycling has collected 3,647 Kyocera cartridges, amounting to 13,585 kilogrammes of recycled material that has been turned into planters, benches and pavers.

Fergus Slattery, Director, Carbon Footprint Recycling, said: “We can’t think that when we throw things away, they are gone. They have to go somewhere and I wanted to find a sustainable way of creating reuse of printer cartridges, because putting them into the dustbin is not an option. When we proposed a recycling concept to Kyocera, an exciting partnership was born.”

As the first company to sign up, Murray & Roberts has collected and recycled 148kg in cartridges and recently donated 16 planters to Ithembelihle School in Germiston, Johannesburg as part of the school’s vegetable growing project.

“The planter boxes will be used to grow seedlings that will later be transplanted to raised tyre gardens for further growth,” said Leonor Ngozi, Principal, Ithembelihle School. “Most of the day scholars arrive at school without having had breakfast. Healthy meals are important for building and boosting the learners’ immune systems, particularly those who are on chronic medication. We are so excited about this project and wish more companies would be involved, so that we can expand our garden to be able to send vegetables home with learners, as well.”

For Murray & Roberts, the project plays into its on-going corporate social investment and drive to closely monitor the company’s carbon footprint, said Hilton Currie, Chief Information Officer, Murray & Roberts.

Prior to its participation in the project, Murray & Roberts would have to store used cartridges, which would take up a lot of space, before cartridge disposal was arranged, which in itself was a costly procedure. By recycling its printer cartridges, the company saves time, money and storage space, while also giving something back to the community.

Paul Wendlandt, Customer Services Support Manager, Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa, said: “Consumption of toner is on-going, and the volume of waste is increasing. How we treat toner waste today is important, both for corporate citizenship and the environment. We need to start changing our habits and finding useful things to do with this waste. That’s why we are encouraging businesses to participate in our recycle, reduce and reuse programme.”

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