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Refilling An Empty Toner Cartridge : Why Waste And Residual Toner Should Not Be Recycled

When conducting toner cartridge refills, it is standard procedure to empty the toner hopper of residual toner powder prior to replenishment. So why is it necessary to rid the hopper of toner residues before instituting refills?

Residual toner from the old toner supply cannot be recycled for the very reason that it may have been contaminated with paper fibers and dust particles. Only fresh toner powder can sustain required charge levels and likewise fuse properly with transparencies to produce quality printouts. Residual toner will likely contaminate the new supply and affect the drum unit’s cleaning mechanism. Consequently, this can cause backgrounding, produce blemishes over printouts and also result to toner scatters over paper as contaminated toner will not charge properly.

Troubleshooting your laser printer? We might just have the printer maintenance tips you need.

Emptying residual toner would be much easier for toner cartridges outfitted with fill holes and plugs such as Brother toner cartridges. Below are some useful tips relevant to the removal of excess toner from the toner hopper and on pertinent toner cartridge parts.

  1. When handling a Brother toner cartridge, place it over a workbench and rip off the duct tape placed over the white hopper plug. Pry the plug loose using a flat head screwdriver.
  2. Once the toner chamber is open, turn the cartridge side down over a trashcan and empty it of loose toner residue.
  3. To clean the cartridge inside, use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum cleaner to catch toner dust particles or a toner vacuum.Said device can effectively remove at least 99.7% of airborne particles up to 0.3 micrometers in size.
  4. Refrain from using a conventional vacuum cleaner as toner particles are electrically charged; where transport even through the hoses could deliver static discharge, ignite dust in the bag, create a small explosion damaging the vacuum cleaner and finally distribute toner dust airborne.
  5. When finally conducting the refill always place the funnel cap over the rim of the replacement toner bottle to avoid toner spills. Let toner flow freely, do not try to squeeze the plastic bottle tightly as slight pressure could send the toner powder airborne.

Don’t dump that empty toner cartridge just yet! You can use it for another 2 or 3 printing cycles. Get it refilled with toner refill kits.

The clean-up of empty toner cartridges prior to refills should be a ritual that toner refill kit users should observe in order to get the best quality results in printer printouts.

Photo credit: pinprick / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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