Recycling Inkjet Cartridges

by: Karl Smith

It is estimated that roughly 350 million cartridges end up in landfills every year. Obviously this is a staggering number, but what is upsetting about it is that number could easily be greatly reduced. If everyone made an effort to recycle their cartridges in some way, either through a recycling service or just by refilling and reusing the cartridges themselves, we would not face such an ugly statistic. Here are some other reasons why recycling inkjet and laser toners is a good idea:

* It is estimated that between 80-90% of cartridges are simply thrown in the trash.

* The number of cartridges ending up in landfills increases by more than 10% annually.

* A brand new laser cartridge requires 3/4 of a gallon of oil to be produced.

* Discarded cartridges still have small amounts of ink in them which can leak into the ground.

In addition to environmental benefits, there are also economic benefits to a consumer when they recycle. In general, if fewer ink cartridges are thrown away and more empty cartridges are available for remanufacturing or refilling, then prices will go down. There is an increased economic benefit to customers if they keep the cartridges and recycle or reuse them themselves. The best way for consumers to save on ink is to refill their own cartridges. You can typically refill an inkjet cartridge three times before it fully wears out. If you use a refill kit, it usually works out to be about $3 or $4 per refill. Add up those numbers over the course of six months or a year and you realize what a huge savings refilling can be. Then, once the cartridge is worn out and cannot be refilled anymore, you can have it professionally recycled.

There are other options outside of just throwing your printer cartridges away:

* You can have them professionally refilled for you through the mail.

* You can take them to your local office store, as most should accept them and many even have a promotion where they give you something in exchange for your cartridge.

* Many times local schools will collect empty cartridges for fundraisers.

* If all else fails, you can contact your local sanitation department to see if they have a special recycling location where products like ink cartridges can be dropped off.

Hopefully after reading this you will realize that there are plenty of alternatives to throwing away empty ink cartridges. If you don’t want to reuse them yourself, then there is always somebody out there who will accept them from you. And as you can see from the statistics we quoted, with that much potential environmental damage happening every year, it really makes sense to make some kind of effort to keep these cartridges out of the trash.