Solid Waste & Recycling


Recycled waste toner powder to aid police investigations

A United Kingdom recycling expert has finally solved one of the recycling industries biggest mysteries: how ca...

A United Kingdom recycling expert has finally solved one of the recycling industries biggest mysteries: how can waste toner powder be recycled?

While empty printer and photocopier cartridges can be reused or broken down to recover the metals and plastics, currently all forms of toner powder are land filled or incinerated. This is estimated globally at around 2700 metric tonnes per month.

Angus Carnie of 300 Recycling recently noted that he has had a fantastic response from all over the world for his solution to reuse the toner powder as forensic finger print powder.

Carnie says that the complicated nature of the composition of toner powder really was a challenge “but I had excellent support from manufacturers, and cartridge recyclers, and after many false starts, I discovered waste toner powder would make an excellent core material for forensic finger print powder.”

“Ironically, one of the other big issues was what to do with the different colours of toner, but I found that they were ideal for identifying finger prints on dark surfaces such as car dashboards,” he says.

With crime globally an ever-increasing issue, this innovation is surely an excellent solution that should be considered by all toner producers and recyclers.

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5 Comments » for Recycled waste toner powder to aid police investigations
  1. Pyrolaser says:

    This is a great idea but I have to wonder at the enormous quantities of used toner that must be disposed of each year. Being a police investigator myself I think that a rapid calculation would demonstrate that the amount of finger print powder used each year throughout the world represents a mere fraction of the total used toner available. Still, it’s a positive step towards recycling toner cartridges.

  2. Walter aLLIOTT says:


  3. Dhana says:

    Really? wow. Yeah I’m a Criminal Justice Major working on a BA in Legal Studies and just recently took a forensic lab class in whihc we did fingerprinting. On numerous occassions I commented that fingerprint powder was probably toner. I mean my dad use to work for a copier company so maybe I am a tad more familiar with toner, but I’m suprised this didn’t dawn on anyone sooner.

  4. Tim Seguin, CCSI says:

    I’ve been telling my fingerprint classes the same thing for years.

  5. BLRPD says:

    This is wonderful. I am a HUGE advocate for “reuse/recycling” on a daily basis. I too would like more information on this topic if possible. The department I work for is building a new office which will include more eco-friendly materials and practices. If we can better use our old cartridges then we must and will. We are all responsible for the carbon footprint we leave on this Earth.

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