How to Recycle Printer Ink Cartridges
Roughly 500 million ink cartridges are sold each and every year, sadly over half of them end up in landfills even though they are both refillable and recyclable. That means nearly 350 million ink cartridges are needlessly tossed and end up in our landfills. To do your part refill or recycle your ink cartridges from your home printers as well as your workplace. Normally it is always better to reuse an item instead of recycling, if there is a choice. Reusing an item, like refillable ink cartridges, eliminates manufacturing effects on the environment from the recycling process. However, recycling is still much better than tossing them in the garbage and letting them end up in a landfill.
Where To Recycle Ink Cartridges
One of the easiest ways to recycle your empty ink cartridges is to use a convenient drop off location. Most large office supply chains have drop off bins at the entrances of their stores, like Office Depot and Staples. Other stores such as Wal-mart, Costco, and Target also participate in recycling ink cartridges with drop off bins. This is especially helpful because they often collect several recyclable items so you can take your stock pile of plastic bottles, plastic bags, ink cartridges, even old cell phones, for one easy drop off location. They are doing their part in making recycling easier and more convenient, especially in areas that may be lacking in their curbside recycling programs. Just bring all your recyclables along on your next shopping trip, drop them in the appropriate bins, and rest assured you’ve done your part to keep a bit more out of our landfills.
Best Place to Recycle Ink Cartridges For Cash
Wal-Mart – Office Depot – Staples – Best Buy
If you are interested and willing to put a bit of effort in, your environmentally friendly choice to recycle can even bring in a few extra bucks. Some stores periodically run specials offering discounts or in-store coupons if you participate in their recycling program. So if you have a drawer full of empty cartridges you’ve been meaning to recycle, it may benefit to check which local stores may be offering coupons or credit. Staples and Office Max even have a reward program turning your empty ink cartridges into store credit. Qualifying ink cartridges will earn you $2 for up to 10 cartridges per month. That means $20 a month towards copy paper, school supplies and more. Many public schools utilize such programs and use that store credit to help teachers with much needed school supplies throughout the year.
Recycle on Ebay
Another way to make some extra money while also keeping cartridges out of landfills is to sell empty cartridges online. You can sell your used and empty cartridges on eBay. It is usually best to collect several and sell them as a lot to make it worth your time and easier to sell. Make sure to have a good picture and title to help you sell them quickly and get a good price.
Recycle Ink Cartridges by Mail
If you are unfamiliar with eBay or not wanting to deal with posting, pricing, and shipping, or possible returns on items, you can utilize one of several buy back sites specifically focused on ink cartridges. Two of the most popular are eCycle Group and Toner Buyer. These sites offer payments for your empty inkjet cartridges ranging from just .25 cents to $4.50, and a convenient way to sell your unwanted cartridges while keeping them out of landfills. The sites will list the specific buy back prices they are offering, and if you want to participate, they will send you a prepaid shipping label. Once they receive your cartridges, they will issue you a check. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Can I Get Money For Empty Ink Cartridges?
If you are wondering why it seems more profitable to recycle ink cartridges than say your aluminum cans, it’s because accepting your used cartridges ensures you will need to buy more. These companies will pay to buy back your used cartridges ensuring you will be purchasing new ones, at a much higher price. This is referred to as Manufacturing led recycling. Companies like HP have large programs for re-manufactured ink cartridges, up to 75% closed loop recycling is used, they even use recycled plastic hangers which are notoriously difficult to recycle. Keep this in mind when debating whether to purchase a re-manufactured ink cartridge. It is always a good idea to recycle or reuse whenever possible, as well as purchase items manufactured using previously recycled items, ensuring these programs remain profitable and hopefully leading more companies into eco-friendly production processes.
Refilling Ink Cartridges
Yet another option for keeping ink cartridges out of our landfills is refilling them. By doing this you extend the life of each ink cartridge. To most this seems a bit daunting…and messy, but it is fairly easy and also budget friendly. Instead of spending full price on new ink cartridges every time they run low, you can purchase a convenient refill kit suitable for your specific ink cartridge online and follow the simple instructions. The kits usually contain a set of plastic gloves, small screwdriver and ink with a syringe.
Easy steps to refilling ink cartridges yourself once you’ve purchased the correct refill kit online:
- Put on plastic gloves.
- Remove the printer cartridge.
- Locate the two refill holes which may be located under the label.
- Use the syringe to fill according to the instructions in the refill kit.
- Reseal the ink cartridge.
- Clean the syringe after each refill.
These kits can usually be used 2-4 times to refill the same cartridge before needing to purchase a whole new inkjet cartridge, and cost half or even less than buying just one brand new one. They come with simple instructions and over time it can be yet another simple everyday contribution to helping the environment. Eventually your printing quality will diminish, and you will need to recycle your empty cartridge and replace.
If the DIY aspect of refilling ink cartridges is holding you back, you can also visit stores like Walgreens or Costco and let them refill the cartridges for you. Some stores will clean and refill your ink cartridges through their photo departments. So, you get some extra use out of your ink cartridge and save some money without ever getting your hands dirty.
It would be irresponsible not to take advantage of one of the many ways you can reuse or recycle your empty ink cartridges and keep them out of landfills.