Save Money and the Earth By Recycling Used Ink Cartridges

Published On April 26, 2013 | Green Tech

Every year, hundreds of millions of computer printer ink cartridges are dumped in trash cans and end up in landfills across the United States. What’s worse is one small ink cartridge will sit in a landfill for at least 1,000 years before it will decompose. When you combine all of the millions of ink cartridges being added to landfills, the disposal of printer ink cartridges is a growing problem.

Fortunately, computer users can help make a difference. Next time your printer runs out of ink, try reusing or recycling your ink cartridge before you run out to buy a new one. Reusing or recycling your ink cartridges will not only help save you money, but will also help save the Earth by reducing waste.

Ink Cartridge Recycling Options

There are many options for reusing or recycling used ink cartridges. Refilling empty cartridges is one of the easiest and most economical ways to reuse ink cartridges. There are a number of refill kits on the market today and many can be purchased at an office supply store or online. Most of these kits come with enough ink to refill cartridges multiple times. Refill kits can be used for both black ink and color ink and can be purchased for as little as $10, which is a steal considering each kit can be used more than once.

If refilling your used ink cartridges seems a little intimidating or messy, but you still want to do your part to help the Earth, try buying recycled ink cartridges. Recycled ink cartridges use less of our natural resources, including 80 percent less energy and about half as much fossil fuel. Recycled ink cartridges can be found through online retailers.

Another option in cutting down on ink cartridge waste is to recycle your used cartridges. Ink cartridges can be recycled at a local participating business supply retailer, such as Staples. Staples accepts empty inkjet cartridges (and some used electronics) through in-store drop-off bins. Staples also has a program in which consumers can receive a $2 store credit when they bring in any ink or toner cartridge to be recycled.

Even some ink cartridge manufacturers will accept empty ink cartridges for recycling or refurbishing. Hewlett-Packard is just one of the many companies which takes back used cartridges for free. Hewlett-Packard accepts used cartridges from designated drop off sites or via mail.

Before you throw out your empty ink cartridge, consider refilling or recycling it. Cartridges can be refilled about five or six times before they wear out. Just think of how much money you could save by refilling your ink cartridge six times from a $10 ink refill kit. Plus, you’ve kept five cartridges from forever sitting in a landfill. It’s a win-win situation. Once you’ve worn out that old ink cartridge, don’t throw it in the trash. Recycle it!

— By Stephanie Willingham

Stephanie Willingham is a contributing writer for a variety of industry blogs. She has professional experience in the medical and financial fields.

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