It doesn’t take long for old printer ink cartridges to start piling up, especially if you have more than one printer. For businesses with several printers in use, the problem can quickly get out of hand.
With more than 350 million inkjet and toner cartridges making their way into landfills each year, recycling initiatives have become more important than ever before. While nearly all toner and ink cartridges can be recycled, only a small percentage actually find its way into the bins. Most are, instead, thrown in the trash where they eventually end up leaking into our waterway and soil.
Printing is a part of our daily lives, but it also takes a huge toll on the environment. Fortunately, there are easy solutions. Recycling printer ink cartridges is much easier than many people realize, and it is a simple step you can take to decrease your environmental impact.
Whether you are an individual who is looking to make changes to go green at home or you own a business and you want to decrease your company’s carbon footprint, here are a few eco-friendly ways to recycle printer ink cartridges.
Find a Local Recycling Facility
There are facilities that recycle ink cartridges in communities all across the country, and finding one is easier than you think. Visit Earth911 and enter the type of material that you would like to recycle — ink and toner — and your zip code. You will then be presented with a list of recycling facilities in your area that accept and recycle ink cartridges.
Drop Them Off at Your Local Office Supply Store
The next time you head to your local supply store to purchase ink or other supplies, bring your old cartridges with you. Many larger locations — including Staples and Office Depot — accept ink and toner cartridges for recycling. Some even offer rewards to encourage their customers to recycle, rather than sending their spent cartridges to the landfill. Other stores in your area may accept ink and toner cartridges for recycling as well. Costco and Walgreens both offer recycling programs.
Earn Some Cash for Yourself or an Organization
With eCycle Group, you can earn cash back for your old printer cartridges. You can send them in to earn some extra cash for yourself or your business, or you can start a fundraising campaign. The eCycle Group works with numerous businesses, churches, schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the nation.
All you need to do is collect at least 20 items or 20 pounds worth of qualifying ink or toner cartridges. Though, keep in mind that only original brand cartridges on the pre-approved price list are accepted, and they must be received in good condition.
Once you’ve gathered enough cartridges, print off a free shipping label, and then just send them in. When packaging them, be sure to wrap each individual cartridge in newspaper or bubble wrap to minimize damage while they are in transit. Once your shipment has been inspected and approved, you or your organization will receive a check in the mail.
If you do not want to host your own fundraiser, consider donating your cartridges to another organization in your area. Many schools accept and use them for their fundraising efforts. You can also look online to find a variety of charities and organizations that accept used inkjet cartridges. Many even offer free prepaid boxes to ship your donation in.
Refill Your Cartridges
If you have original brand printer ink cartridges that have only been used once, you may be able to refill them using an ink refill kit. These refill kits typically include ink, a syringe, a screw tool, refilling instructions and plastic gloves.
Refilling an ink cartridge usually requires manually injecting the correct amount of ink. Once it has been refilled to capacity, you should be able to reinstall the cartridge and use it to print, just like before.
When shopping for a refill kit, be sure to choose one that is intended for your specific brand and cartridge series. While ink cartridges can only be refilled a few times before print quality begins to suffer, doing so is a good way to reduce the number of cartridges you are sending to the landfill each year.
Ink and toner cartridges have a huge impact on our environment. With millions making their way into landfills each year, it’s important to take steps to recycle and to mitigate the environmental damage. There are several ways to recycle cartridges, and doing so is much simpler than many people realize. This simple step can keep millions of cartridges out of landfills, while saving tons of plastic and aluminum and reducing the impact of printing on the environment.