How to Recycle Printer Cartridges

What happens to the roughly five hundred million printer cartridges we in the USA purchase every year?

The answer may shock you.

Although toner cartridges are recyclable and reusable, significantly higher than half of them, around three hundred and fifty million, end up in landfills harming our environment greatly.

Recycling empty cartridges is the best solution for this.

Throwing your empty printer cartridges into the trash is also not very profitable for you. As you will learn in this article, you can reuse your old cartridges for future use and save yourself some money. It’s a win for you in every way if you recycle your cartridges rather than throw them away.

You can follow the methods in this article to learn how you can recycle old cartridges without much effort.

Ways to Recycle Printer Cartridges

A. Recycling Locally

1. Local Recycling Centre

If you have a recycling center in your area (a quick Google search will help with this), you can check with them if they take ink and toner cartridges.

The majority of recycling centers should take your cartridges. However, you can try to call them or check on their website to check out their policy. This will reduce your time and effort greatly and mean you don’t make a wasted trip.

This is a very quick and convenient way to recycle cartridges that requires very little effort on anyone’s part. Therefore, it might be best to keep your used cartridges to one side and wait for a day when you can make the trip to recycle them.

2. Take the Cartridges to Your Office Supply Store

Many office supply stores offer to recycle empty cartridges for free if you originally bought the cartridgesfrom them. You can try to call them to find out their policy about empty cartridges.

Even if you didn’t buy from them, a significant number of office supply stores will still recycle the used cartridges.If you are looking to recycle your cartridges locally, then utilizing this service is a great way to do so. You can even go about it on a day when you are doing your regular shopping.

Some stores also offer to refill your toner cartridges if you take your empty cartridges to them. There are quite a few benefits to this, including:

  • Increasing your cartridges’ longevity with some cartridges refillable up to five times.
  • Saving money as you won’t have to buy new cartridges every time you run out of ink. Ink and toner refills are much, much cheaper than buying a new cartridge every time.

Some people worry that a refilled cartridge leads to an inferior print job. However, you don’t need to worry about the performance of the cartridges as refilled cartridges will give you the same results as new ones.

3. Look for Recycle Programs or Offers

You can also look out for any recycling programs or offers that your local retailers may host.

It is common for major retailers in many towns and cities across the USA to host such events. You’ll find a number of stores that will give you store credit or incentives for future purchases from any of their stores around the country if you bring them your empty cartridges. These offers don’t happen 365 days of the year in all cases, so you will have to make sure to get your cartridges to a store for recycling at a given time.

Some of the stores may even offer some money back or discounts on future cartridge purchases. You may need to get all the information you can about their recycling policy’s terms and conditions before you bring your cartridges to them. Make sure to check for any additional requirements the retailers may ask for their services. These can be hidden in small print.

4. Recycling Programs by the Manufacturer

Most major brands have their own recycling programs. They offer free take-back or buy-back programs to recycle their old products.

For example, HP collects empty water bottles and plastic hangers, recycling them to make new ink and toner cartridges; Brother reuses packing boxes to ship and return used cartridges; Lexmark offers free and easy cartridge recycling since 1991; Canon offers free inkjet cartridge returns.

You can check the website of the manufacture of your cartridges and see if they have any such programs.

If you find one manufacturer has a better recycling program, you can even switch to that brand in the future.

B. Reusing Empty Ink Cartridges

 1. Refill Empty Ink and Toner Cartridges

Another way to recycle your old cartridges is to reuse them. You can do this by refilling your empty toner and ink cartridges.

There are two options here:

  1. You can order new ink and refill the cartridge by yourself. If you want to refill your own cartridge, you will need a printer cartridge refill kit that you can buy from an office supply store or from an online retailer. This is cheaper than purchasing new cartridges.
  2. You can take your empty cartridges to your nearest office supply store and have them do it for you for a small fee.

Choose whichever option is more convenient but, if ordering online, check where the refill kit is coming from. If they are traveling halfway across the continent, then the eco-benefits are negated. Also, remember that online retailers use excessive packaging, so make sure this gets recycled.

2. Purchase Refurbished/Recycled Cartridges

You can also look for recycled cartridges. They are generally cheaper than brand new cartridges, but they will have the same output as new ones.

A word of warning, though, it would be best if you are careful when you buy used cartridges. The type and the quality of the used cartridges depend greatly on the provider, and there are some people out there who may try to scam you. Check the reviews of a seller before using this option.

It is advised to buy from the manufacturer only as they should offer the best-refurbished quality and are more likely to replace anything you buy if proven to be defective.

Manufacturer supplied recycled toner and ink cartridges can also be a little more expensive than other suppliers.

C. Donate Empty Cartridges

If you are reluctant to go to any great length to recycle your cartridges, you can always donate them. This is also a type of recycling because others will use the donated cartridges.

There are various charities and organizations that take empty toner and ink cartridges as donations. Some of them also offer buy-back options if you want to sell them.

Recycle4Charity, Empties4Cash, Cartridges for Kids are some of the most popular charities that allow you to send your empty cartridges for free and sometimes offer you some cash for your donations.

Empties4Cash even sends you a shipping box so that you can mail your donations to the Empties4Cash headquarters. You can e-mail Empties4Cash through their website and see if they are interested in taking your donation.

Furthermore, you can also donate your cartridges locally to a charity, charity shop, or another non-profit organization. Just give them a call to find out if they take empty ink cartridges as donations.

Another option is to look for donation boxes around your town or city. There may be some organizations having recycling drives and collecting recyclable products near you.

Final Word

Now that you know how to recycle your empty printer cartridges, you can start from today and take part in conserving nature.

Recycling is also cost-efficient. So it only makes sense that we stop throwing away our printer cartridges everywhere we want.

You can encourage others to do the same. Saving nature is a collective enterprise. We all should do as much as possible to conserve our surroundings for our own good.

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