Tips on Recycling Your Ink Cartridges

laser printer toner recycling bagRecycling is a very important duty we all have to help our planet remain as healthy as possible. Now more than ever, consumers are looking to their favorite brands and companies to adopt greener practices and leave less of a footprint on this precious Earth. When it comes to recycling your ink cartridges, it is very important that you do so in a way that assures they’re going to be handled and disposed of properly.

When individuals and companies who do not recycle their cartridges properly, these items can sit for up to 450 years in a landfill before finally decomposing. Incorrectly discarded items like cartridges are taking up too much space and often leak their chemicals into the air and surrounding soil. According to research, approximately 2.5 million ink cartridges are re-manufactured each year; however, more than 10 million end up in landfills.

If you’re trying to improve your daily practices at home or in your place of work, ink cartridge recycling is a good place to start. These little items are easy to toss into the trash, but bringing awareness to the recycling programs available can make a big difference.

Here are some tips on recycling your ink cartridges responsibly:

Take them to a local supply store

If you’re not sure where to take your cartridges, start by asking around the local supply stores in the area. Many of these establishments will happily take back your old cartridges and dispose of them properly for you. These locations will likely take your other old electronics as well.

Call around and see who will take your cartridges, and be sure to choose a location that you know will be sending them to the right place for proper recycling.

Send them to a recycling plant

If you don’t have any supply stores in the area that will collect your used cartridges, then consider a trip to a recycling plant near you. Simply visit the website, where you can enter your zip code and the type of material that you wish to recycle. You will be presented with a long list of locations in your area where you can take your recyclables for proper disposal.

Have them remanufactured

ink cartridge recycling boxink cartridge recycling box

Remanufacturing inkjet cartridges has come a long way, and the process has evolved dramatically over time to create a streamlined, beneficial process. To remanufacture this type of item, old cartridges are gathered, broken down, and re-made into brand new ones. The goal of a remanufacturing plant is to use as much of the old cartridge as possible and to create brand-new products that work just as efficiently as they did previously.

Used cartridges are brought into the plant and inspected to make sure they’re still in working order. Those that are too old or broken are taken away to be recycled properly. The pieces are then put through a centrifuge system that spins the parts at very high speeds to rid them entirely of any old ink residue.

Once they’re properly cleaned, the pieces are reworked, built back together, and re-filled precisely. This process ensures that there are no bubbles in the ink, and that the cartridge is the perfect weight both before and after being refilled.

For those that have toner cartridges, these items can also be re-manufactured. Companies such as A Greener Refill have all kinds of detailed information about the re-manufacturing process and how cartridges are rebuilt.

Host a fundraiser

pile printer ink cartridges

If your place of work has a lot of employees or goes through a lot of ink cartridges, then you might consider doing a fundraiser. In this type of approach, you can ask coworkers and friends to gather their empty cartridges and donate them to your fundraiser. There are a wide range of companies that will pay for those cartridges, so long as they’re in good working condition, not re-manufactured and on the pre-approved recycling price list.

This is an ideal project for students especially, since it’s a great way to start raising awareness early about making greener choices. Not only will they learn about recycling cartridges, but they can pass the knowledge on to their friends as well.


If you didn’t know that you could recycle your cartridges, now is a great time to start applying these tips to your home and place of work. If you know that friends and family in your area aren’t recycling their cartridges, you can even offer to collect them for everyone and take them to a local supply store yourself. Every little bit counts, so be sure to consider these tips as you recycle your ink cartridges.