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Waste toner bottle full? Wait…what?

If you’ve ever been perplexed by this copier error message you might be wondering how a toner level on your copier can be rising with use. Shouldn’t your toner supply be going down?

The answer is yes...and no.

While toner bottles themselves are a critical part of your printing equipment, many machines have a waste toner bottle that is equally as important to keeping your machine running smoothly. As much as we’d like to think that every precious drop of toner from your toner cartridges is used during the printing process, the truth is that not all particles will adhere to your page and need to go somewhere.

Excess particles that remain after the imaging process can be found on the drum. This excess toner is removed from the drum by a cleaning blade and goes into a waste toner compartment, or bottle. The main purpose of the waste toner bottle is to provide a collection reservoir for unused particles so that they do not just fall into the machine. If toner were to just spill out inside the machine, over time, it would not operate.

It’s important to note that even though the toner has not technically been used on paper, it cannot be reused again in any way. Whether your machine is a black and white device or a full, 4-color printer, all toner colors deposit into the same waste toner bottle.

In some models, waste toner is actually collected in a secondary component that is built into the supplying toner cartridge itself. If a waste toner bottle is not mentioned in your equipment’s operating manual, then it is likely a part of your all-in-one toner cartridge.

If your model does have a dedicated waste toner bottle, it will have a sensor that will notify you if the bottle becomes full and needs to be replaced. When replacing a full waste toner bottle it’s important to do so with care, as toner is quite messy if spilled.

Some models require that their waste toner bottles be completely replaced with a new empty bottle, while some models allow you to empty the bottle and replace it for a second use. Consult your product’s operating manual to confirm what is the best method for your machine.

The good news is that a waste toner bottle generally takes a long time to become completely full. Many users will never encounter this error message, but if you do, it’s good to understand its purpose.

Just like toner cartridges should be recycled, so should your waste toner bottles too, or else they could take nearly 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill.

Whether you're a Benchmark customer or not, learn more about your corporate responsibility to protect the environment and our recycling partnership with Xerox. Xerox offers a list of Take Back items that can be returned to your local recycling plant. To learn more, click here.

Got questions about toner for your specific model? We’ve got that covered too, give us a call to help.

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