A recent study commissioned by the ReSoCart project found that the majority of bulk users, in particular 70% of businesses in Ghana, are using laser printers instead of inkjet printers. Among these bulk users, it is mainly universities and printing centres that use laser printers due to their high printing requirements.
The following aspects are the three key findings of the Ghanaian cartridge landscape:
- The increasing use of refill cartridges: The Ghanaian print centres have developed an economic and ecological strategy to save resources and money: They buy toner powder and refill the cartridges themselves. This has resulted in a significant presence of refill cartridges, which account for a remarkable 39.13% of the market (mainly from print centres). This approach not only offers cost savings but also helps to reduce waste.
- The absence of local OEMs: A significant anomaly in the Ghanaian cartridge ecosystem is the absence of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). This means that local companies do not produce cartridges that meet the exact specifications and branding of the major global printer manufacturers. As a result, the market is largely dominated by imported products.
- The recycling challenge: A pressing issue arising from the lack of local OEMs is the absence of take-back schemes for used cartridges. These schemes, usually initiated by the OEMs themselves, are essential for the collection of used cartridges for recycling or proper disposal. The lack of such schemes in Ghana means that used cartridges are often thrown into the normal residual waste bins, where they mix with other solid waste and end up in landfills unsorted.
While these challenges are obvious, they also present opportunities for innovation and sustainable practices in the disposal of toner cartridges.