Reuse Or Recycle Your Inkjet Cartridges

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Contrary to popular belief, it’s a very easy matter to reuse or recycle your inkjet cartridges. If you’ve been throwing away your inkjet and toner cartridges in the garbage up to this point, you’re not alone. There are over 13 cartridges discarded in the U.S. every second, according to the folks at In North America alone, that’s more than 350 million cartridges that end up in landfills every year, and that number increases by about 12% on an annual basis, making that a total of 70% of used printer cartridges throughout the world currently being thrown out. These cartridges are made with plastics that can take at least 1,000 years to decompose. Not a good thing.  In one year, if all of the world’s discarded cartridges were stacked end-to-end, they would circle the Earth more than three times.

Every remanufactured cartridge put back into use will save nearly 3.5 pounds of solid waste from being deposited in landfills. You have the power to cut down on this amount of waste because some inkjet cartridges can be used more than once.  There are several outlets where anyone can buy a refill kit. Refilling and reusing ink cartridges is a simple way to reduce tons of waste. There are now major stores like Walgreens which offer a cartridge refilling service.  You leave the cartridge at the photo department and in a day or so, you can pick up the refill.  Other such trusted service providers besides those previously mentioned can ensure the print and quality produced by your printer is maintained.

If this solution seems too messy for you to handle by yourself, take your empties (from other machines like copiers and faxes, as well) to the nearest drop off center to be reused or recycled by others. (you can plug your zip code into for the location of nearby collection places.). Many companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, take them back for free. They provide mailers or labels so you can ship them back to be recycled or refurbished.  Several stores like OfficeMax and Staples also offer mailers that you can get free of charge to ship your used cartridges with. If you don’t live close to a reseller of used cartridges, it is possible to find stores or other companies online which specialize in refilling used cartridges or selling recycled ones.  One note of caution here: be sure to check out your source carefully.  There are still a few unscrupulous outfits that are making a profit from using unsuitable quality ink in the refills.  Be sure to check out these sources with the Better Business Bureau in the city where the company is located.  If there is no land address given, or only a post office box, avoid these companies and look for one that is more reputable.

Refills are an excellent source of savings for your home or business needs.  They can cost up to 50% less than new ones do. It takes about 80% less energy to remanufacture plastic for cartridges than to produce it new. Also, remanufactured laser cartridges use about half the amount of oil (It takes about a gallon of oil to make a new toner cartridge, a nonrenewable fossil fuel) needed to manufacture those that are brand new. So refilling will help save oil, especially with the current gas/oil situation. If you buy recycled cartridges to begin with, you’ll save large amounts of energy and keep spent ink jet cartridges from entering the waste stream.

Photo by: Maksym Yemelyanov –

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