Recycling Ink, Toner Cartridges Just Got Easier at Northwestern

March 8, 2019

Northwestern Oklahoma State University employees have donated more than 185 cartridges to be recycled.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University employees can now recycle used toner and ink cartridges by dropping them in campus mail.

Tandy Keenan, director of sponsored programs and Alva campus cartridge collector, started collecting cartridges in 2016 while working at the Northwestern Foundation and found out through her sponsored program job duties that there was no place for others to recycle, so she announced the program university-wide.

The recycled ink and toner cartridges are taken to the Northwest Center for Behavioral Health’s Regional substance abuse Prevention Coordinator’s office in Alva. The RPC office sells the cartridges to the recycler and uses the funding to pay for meals and other expenses for their underage volunteers, who assist with alcohol compliance checks. The RPC receives between 10 cents and $2 for each cartridge.

Those who want to participate should place used toner or ink cartridges in the box for the new cartridge — or the old box, if they saved it — and put it into the campus mail as if it were outgoing mail addressed to Keenan. Keenan will accept Alva campus donations in Vinson Hall 311. Dr. Steven Mackie, professor of education, will collect donations for the Enid campus. Donations will be accepted year-round.

“I am an avid supporter of ‘reducing, reusing and recycling’ whenever possible,” Keenan said. “Thank you to everyone who has donated their printer ink cartridges for recycling. I estimate we have recycled 185 plus cartridges so far. Ultimately, we are preventing all of these cartridges from going to the landfill.”

Ink cartridges can only be remanufactured for use up to three times and toner cartridges up to five times. Once the cartridge has exhausted its reusability, it then will be turned into other sustainable products. Keenan said the plastic from those that can no longer be remanufactured will be broken down into pellets to be turned into plastic materials that have nothing to do with ink or toner.

Keenan said it’s important for Northwestern to commit to recycling ink and toner cartridges because of their effect on landfills. Cartridges can take 500-1,000 years to decompose in a landfill and may leak printer ink into the environment.

All Northwestern employees, students and community members can utilize this recycling program.

For more information about Northwestern’s ink/toner recycling program contact Keenan at (580) 327-8110 or


Erin Davis University Relations Specialist, 580-327-8480

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

709 Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717
Phone: (580) 327-1700

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