ISRI names Lexmark as 2020 Design for Recycling award winner

According to ISRI, 95 percent of Lexmark toner cartridges contain at least some PCR content.


In recognition of its innovation and commitment to sustainability in the design and manufacture of new products, the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has named Lexmark its 2020 Design for Recycling (DFR) Award winner.

The DFR Award is given annually to the most innovative contribution to products designed with recycling in mind. Lexmark received the award specifically for the design of its toner cartridges, and 95 percent of those toner cartridges contain at least some postconsumer resin (PCR). 

“As ISRI’s highest honor, the Design for Recycling Award recognizes those who put recycling and sustainability at the forefront of their product design,” says Robin Wiener, ISRI president. “Through the development of its toner cartridges from the initial concept stages all the way to end of life, Lexmark has worked to actively incorporate the design for recycling principles in every element. ISRI is proud to recognize Lexmark as the 2020 design for recycling award recipient, and we look forward to their continued work to design with recycling in mind.”

In addition to the Lexmark toner cartridges containing nearly 100 percent PCR, Lexmark reuses and recycles cartridge parts through planned cartridge design, selection of materials that work well with its recycling process and by enabling the return of end-of-life cartridges for reuse and recycling. The company has its own Responsible Recycling- (R2-) certified recycling center, where it aims to receive every cartridge back for recycling.

“Lexmark provides sustainable solutions throughout the entire product lifecycle—from sustainable design to efficient use to responsible recycling,” says John Gagel, chief sustainability officer at Lexmark. “Sustainable design is one of Lexmark's key CSR pillars. Winning the DFR Award validates our commitment to using materials derived from sustainable sources that are designed to have minimal impact on the environment throughout the print life cycle.” 

Lexmark started planning for PCR content in the plastics in its cartridges in 2008, accomplishing 2 percent. In 2018, the average PCR content included in its latest line of cartridges was an average of 21 percent, which led to the current PCR content of 95 percent.

Lexmark received the award during ISRI’s Virtual 2020 Awards Ceremony Oct. 21.

To be eligible for this award, a product must be designed/redesigned and manufactured to:

  • contain the maximum amount of materials that are recyclable;
  • be easily recycled through current or newly designed recycling processes and procedures;
  • be cost-effective to recycle whereby the cost to recycle does not exceed the value of its recycled materials;
  • be free of hazardous materials that are not recyclable or impede the recycling process;
  • minimize the time and cost involved to recycle the product;
  • reduce the use of raw materials by including recycled materials and/or components; and
  • have a net gain in the overall recyclability of the product while reducing the overall negative impact on the environment.
ISRI began presenting the award more than 10 years ago. Previous winners include Nestlé Waters North America, Dell Inc., EcoStrate, Samsung, LG Electronics Inc., Cascades Fine Papers Group, Hewlett-Packard, The Herman Miller Co. and Wind Simplicity.
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