Scenario

The analysis was based on the real life data collected by the Cartridge World and remanufacturing cycle of 3.5 times for each new cartridge. The inventory included materials, energy, transport logistics, remanufacturing ratio for each parts, and disposal and waste scenarios.

Findings

Carbon impact of remanufactured cartridges was 22.8 kgCO2eq. compared to 35 kgCO2eq. for new ones when the use phase excluded. This equates to about 35% carbon saving for remanufactured cartridges. These values were based on the 3.5 remanufactured cartridge including the core (as new) and 4.5 times new equivalent.

When the use phase was included, carbon impact increases to 143 kgCO2eq and 155 kgCO2eq respectively, which reduced the saving from remanufacturing to 8.3%.
For every 1% increase in paper wastage in the use phase, there is just over 0.6% reduction in the benefit obtained from remanufacturing. There needs to be more than 12% paper wastage during printing to wipe away the benefit of remanufacturing. It is believed that this is an unrealistically high percentage.

Looking at the carbon impact of monochrome toner cartridges worldwide, excluding the use phase and at 40% remanufacturing market penetration by volume, the total impact is about 1,580,000 tCO2eq of which 484,000 tCO2eq is from remanufacturing. The benefit over no remanufacturing is 259,000 tCO2eq. Further potential savings are feasible if remanufacturing activity in the market improves.

In the UK alone, 11,600 tCO2eq is saved with 21% penetration by remanufactured cartridges. This can be improved to 39,200 tCO2eq if new cartridges takes only 29% of the total market and every core is remanufactured 3.5 times.

You may also be interested in the BFF input analysis.