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2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report


Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program: Reducing Waste to Landfill

The Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program continues to divert millions of Lexmark toner and inkjet cartridges from landfills annually by enabling our customers to return used print cartridges to Lexmark free of charge for reuse or recycling. Customers can return individual toner cartridges simply by placing the used cartridge in the new cartridge box and applying the pre-paid label provided for shipment. Other methods of return for toner cartridges include bulk returns or container pick-up service for large-volume customers (availability varies by country). For inkjet cartridge returns, customers can request free recycling bags from Lexmark’s easy-to-use Web site, in addition to other country-specific inkjet cartridge collection methods.

Currently, our collection programs are available in more than 60 countries, which represent approximately 90 percent of our global market.

Collection Map


Toner Cartridge Collections Our extensive cartridge collection network has made Lexmark an industry leader in the recovery, remanufacturing and recycling of empty toner cartridges, and the number of empty cartridges we collect and process continues to be impressive. In 2011, our customers returned to Lexmark for appropriate end-of-life management approximately one out of every three toner cartridges shipped. In some regions, the Lexmark return rate is even higher. In the U.S., for example, the number of toner cartridges returned has continued to average between 40 and 50 percent of shipments over the past several years. We believe that industry average collection rates are between 20 and 30 percent.





Inkjet Cartridge Collections

The percentage of inkjet cartridges Lexmark collects has also grown steadily. Lexmark began collecting and recycling inkjet cartridges in 2004 and by 2011 we achieved nearly 700 percent growth. Lexmark inkjet cartridges are now collected in virtually every country where Lexmark printers are sold.

We credit these achievements to our customers’ exceptional environmental commitment, along with creative incentives that make it easy to do the right thing for the planet, such as:

  • C540/X540 Series Rewards Program: This unique environmental program for our new C540/X540 series color laser printers rewards customers for recycling their used toner cartridges with Lexmark.  Customers can earn free High Yield toner and Imaging Kits for returning their empty cartridges to Lexmark for recycling or reuse.
  • Lexmark Return Program cartridges, offered for many of our most popular printer models. These toner and inkjet cartridges are sold at discounted prices in exchange for agreeing to return the empty cartridges only to Lexmark for remanufacturing, reuse or recycling.
  • High-profile recycling campaigns and partnerships with leading global recyclers, such as Cartridges 4 Planet Ark and Close The Loop. In Australia, Lexmark teams with Planet Ark to provide collection boxes in convenient locations such as office buildings, stores and postal offices. The cartridges are then recycled by Close the Loop, which ensures that 100 percent of the materials are recycled into other uses.
  • In Singapore, Lexmark participates in the Project Homecoming initiative supported by the National Environmental Agency (NEA) and the National Library Board (NLB). The initiative aims to encourage the recycling of cartridges through easily accessible bins in 13 NLB libraries.

Charitable Tie-Ins:

  • In South Africa, the Cartridge Recycling Initiative for Babies (CRIB) seeks to protect the environment and children. By returning empty laser and inkjet cartridges to Lexmark for recycling, customers can contribute directly to Cotlands, an organization that cares for abandoned and abused babies or those who have HIV-AIDS. Contributions to the fund are made on a per unit basis on both inkjet and laser cartridges. Since 2002, CRIB had donated more than 60,000 “Baby Days” to Cotlands.  One Baby Day equals the cost of housing, feeding, clothing and care for one child at Cotlands for the period of one day.
  • In France, Lexmark has continued its partnership with the Cancer League charity, S’inscrire dans le temps, donating one euro per empty cartridge collected through the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program.  Part of the funds are used to support a program aimed at helping teenage cancer patients stay connected to their friends and school through personalized diaries focused on a brighter future.
  • In Japan, Lexmark participates along with other manufacturers in the Ink Cartridge Homecoming Project sponsored by Japan Post, which donates three yen per collected inkjet cartridge to the United Nations Environmental Program to help support its environmental conservation programs.


cartridge and boxHelping keep toner cartridges out of landfills is easy, especially with Lexmark’s broad selection of cartridge offerings.

  • Lexmark regular cartridges can be returned to Lexmark through the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program.
  • Lexmark Return Program cartridges give you an up-front discount in exchange for your agreement to return the cartridge only to Lexmark.
  • Lexmark Certified Reconditioned toner cartridges are the quality-assured remanufactured alternative.

New Cartridge Return Methods in 2011

logoIn 2011, Lexmark added a SmartSolution enabling its inkjet customers to order ink cartridge return
bags directly from their device touch screen.


recycling containerLexmark also expanded its program of Cartridge Recycling Containers which had been available just in Europe to the U.S. The Cartridge Recycling Containers are designed to be displayed in a customer’s location and can be used to recycle both toner and ink cartridges. The Containers enable Lexmark Eco Reports which provide customers with a measure of the sustainability benefits for their returned empty cartridges.

The LCCP container, which is available in EMEA will soon be offered in the U.S. Through the program, Lexmark provides free containers to customers to be filled with empty laser and inkjet cartridges. When a container is full, it’s returned to Lexmark free of charge for recycling. More than 20,000 customers in more than 25 European countries are already taking advantage of the container program.



Cartridges Find New Life as Ink Pens

pens The world’s first pen made almost entirely from materials recovered from end-of-life inkjet cartridges. Read More
Conserving our planet’s natural resources is a key sustainability challenge as the world population and economy continue to grow. According to the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, natural resource consumption is expected to rise to 170 percent of the Earth’s bio-capacity by 2040*. This makes the recycling and reuse of products more urgent than ever before. At Lexmark, we recognize this challenge and, since our founding in 1991, have been dedicated to providing our customers with free and easy ways to return their used Lexmark supplies to us for responsible end-of-life management. With the help of our customers, Lexmark continues to make excellent progress in keeping cartridges out of landfills so that these products can be recycled or reused, reducing the need for new raw materials and helping to preserve our environment.

Resource Conservation through Recycling and Reuse

Materials Recovery

Not only does the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program help reduce waste to landfill, but it also conserves natural resources in conjunction with our recycling program. When managing the end-of-life for the empty cartridges our customers return to us, Lexmark always aims to be at the top levels of the standard environmental hierarchy. At the bottom of the hierarchy are landfill disposal and incineration, the least desirable options. At the highest levels are recycling and reuse, which produce the greatest sustainability benefit for the environment. In order to consistently "push up" this environmental hierarchy, Lexmark follows a zero-landfill and incineration policy for all of the empty cartridges that we collect and 100 percent of the empty cartridges returned to Lexmark are either reused or the material is recycled.





Materials Recovery Our ultimate goal is to give as many cartridges as possible a second life through materials reuse. Since 1996, Lexmark has reused over 31 million pounds of recovered cartridge material by converting millions of empty toner cartridges into Lexmark Certified Reconditioned toner cartridges. The eligible empties that we collect are disassembled, cleaned, and critical components are replaced with genuine Lexmark components. Each reconditioned cartridge is tested to assure high-quality output and reliable performance.



Between 2004 and 2011, Lexmark was able to achieve a more than threefold increase in the absolute amount of cartridge materials reused through our collection program by continually optimizing our collection and remanufacturing processes. In doing so, we have been consistently moving up higher in the environmental hierarchy. Lexmark toner cartridges that cannot be successfully reconditioned are demanufactured using a process that maximizes materials recovery for use in secondary products.

In 2011 alone, we recycled or reused more than10,000 metric tons of plastic, metals and packaging. Conserving these materials for reuse in cartridges and other products translates into fewer raw materials that need to be mined or extracted, reducing the impact on the environment.

Click here for a high-res download of this graphic.

End-of-Life Management: Toner Cartridge Carbon Footprint

Toner Cartridge Life Cycle Assessment

Lexmark extensively utilized Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) in 2011 to better understand the environmental impact of our cartridges and as a guideline when considering potential product and process design improvements. An LCA is designed to evaluate the environmental impact of a product throughout its lifetime – from raw materials extraction, production, distribution and use, to end of life. These studies demonstrate just how significant the benefit to the environment can be by recycling a used toner cartridge through the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP). The Lexmark LCA cartridge studies performed by a third party in accordance with the ISO 14040 and 14044 guidelines for LCA, demonstrates that sending a used Lexmark toner cartridge back to Lexmark for recycling, as opposed to discarding it in a landfill, reduces the overall carbon footprint of those cartridges studied by up to 50 percent (excluding paper consumed during the use phase).

Use of Post-Consumer Recycled Content

In 2011, Lexmark continued its use of post-consumer recycled plastics in the manufacture of certain new toner cartridges. The Lexmark toner cartridge product line contained, on average, 10 percent by weight of post-consumer recycled plastic. In some models, the post-consumer recycled content of newly molded plastic components can provide up to 28 percent by weight of the plastic used.

Sustainable by Design

OfficeEdge suppliesSupplies for the Lexmark OfficeEdge devices (Pro4000 & Pro5500) contain at least 60% PCR plastic content.

Preliminary LCA results indicate >50% C02 reduction per page vs. current design.






Manufacturing LeadershipLexmark was recently announced as a 2012 Manufacturing Leadership 100 (ML100) Award recipient for Sustainability. Lexmark was recognized for having implemented closed loop post-consumer recycled content in both its inkjet and laser supplies through the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP).



Smart-Supply Program

In May of 2011, Lexmark introduced its new Smart-Supply program deigned to help our high-usage SMB customers to save money and help the environment. Customers which sign up for the program, receive four ink or toner cartridges at a 10-percent discount (plus free shipping). Each of these cartridges has a postage-paid postcard attached that is addressed to Lexmark. When customers install one of these cartridges, they simply remove the postcard and drop it in the mail. Upon receipt of the card, Lexmark sends a replacement cartridge and charges the customers’ credit cards – again at a 10-percent discount plus free shipping.

Lexmark Electronic Waste Recycling

More information on electronic waste recycling is available here

* "Sustainable Consumption Facts and Trends.” World Business Council on Sustainable Development, 2009.