What is Ink Cartridge Recycling?

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Recycling printer ink cartridges accounts for keeping some 40,000 tons of non-degradable plastic out of landfills every year. But lightening the load at the local dump and taking steps to preserve the natural habitat isn’t the only reason you may want to properly dispose of your spent office supplies. Recycling ink cartridges brings a handful of benefits that you can turn to your advantage.

c03522170For those in busy office environments who fly through ink like it’s going out of style, taking the step to recycle cartridges after they’ve outlasted their usefulness can bring incremental monetary savings. Many ink cartridge retailers offer cash, credit or rewards for recycled ink cartridges that you can use toward the purchase of replacements. Additionally, sparing a used ink cartridge a quick flight to the wastebasket also enables ink sellers to repurpose them and sell them at lower prices, passing the savings back in a mutually beneficial relationship.

If you’re not sure how to recycle ink cartridges or have never done so before, the good news is that it’s a free and easy process. HP offers its customers convenient ways to recycle ink cartridges, as do many other manufacturers.

And it’s not just the manufacturers that enable you to return your spent cartridges. Companies like Toner Buyer, Quill Corporation, and Advantage Cartridge also offer repurposing services.

If you’d prefer a simpler method of ridding yourself of spent ink cartridges, you can always take them to authorized retail collection locations and simply drop them off in prominently posted cartridge recycle bins. Among some of the big retailers that accept recycled ink cartridges are Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, Best Buy and Walmart.

If there are no nearby retail collection locations or if it’s not convenient to make the trip, many manufacturers also give you the option of mailing your used ink cartridges in a postage-paid envelope. Depending on the quantity of cartridges you have to recycle, you can request envelopes or boxes capable of fitting hundreds at a time. For recycling bulk quantities in excess of 1000, you can even schedule a free pallet pickup.

c02150021Before you schedule any deliveries or pickups, contact the manufacturer of the ink cartridges you’d like to recycle to ensure they’ll be accepted. Some manufacturers will only accept printer ink cartridges that bear their logo. As a rule, never mail used ink cartridges to a manufacturer without first obtaining proper packaging. Failing to adequately package a cartridge can lead to leakage, which will likely prevent them from being delivered to their intended destination.

Recycling ink cartridges isn’t just limited to turning over your spent cartridges. You also have the option of bringing your used cartridges to an authorized dealer to have them refilled, which will cost you less than it would to purchase replacements. Some companies also specialize in selling DIY ink refill kits. When refilling a used ink cartridge yourself, use caution to ensure the kit you’re purchasing is compatible with the brand and style you’ve previously purchased. Using the wrong materials or incorrectly refilling the ink could lead to poor print jobs. In a worst-case scenario, an improperly refilled ink cartridge can also damage your printer and void your manufacturer warranty.

If you’re into supporting your community, stay on the lookout for local non-profit organizations that will accept your used ink cartridges in lieu of a donation. Often, ink cartridges and other office recyclables are collected by various charity organizations as valuable fundraising capital. Cartridges for Kids is used by schools and non-profits to raise money, and Veterans Advantage supports its Wounded Soldier Campaign by collecting empty inkjet and toner cartridges.

Considering the options at your “disposal,” recycling ink cartridges can be a far more beneficial and charitable act than simply throwing them away.



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