Did you know that ink cartridges take about a thousand years to decompose? Millions of empty ink and toner cartridges end up as trash in landfills, spelling trouble for the environment. On a slightly positive note, other empty cartridges make their way to incinerators and used to generate energy.
Aside from using a voucher code to go and buy that next ink cartridge, you should be looking at other options that will not only work out cheaper in the long run but benefit the environment too.
If you have empty printer cartridges lying around, why not turn trash into cash and save the planet while you’re at it? Recycling cartridges doesn’t only reduce the amount of plastic in landfills, making it good for the environment; it’s also good for your wallet because you can get cash back for every cartridge you send in for recycling.
Recycling empty ink cartridges is easy, and here are some of the best ways to do it.
If you still have the box the cartridge came in, check it for instructions on recycling. It may provide free postage if you want to send the cartridge back to the company for recycling. If you don’t have the box anymore, visit the manufacturer’s website for information. Some companies offer customers various options for recycling toner and ink cartridges, including a bulk return option, with return shipping already paid for.
There are many groups that accept empty cartridges in exchange for cash. Some sites accept all kinds of ink cartridges, while others have a list of the kinds that they can accept. You may either have your cartridges picked up or go for pre-paid free shipping. Some organizations offer up to $4 for each used cartridge.
Some municipalities have their own recycling programs for old computers, printers, cables, and other electronics, including used ink cartridges. Your town may already have its own recycling project in place, with proceeds going to community projects such as the improvement of parks and playgrounds, or prizes for the town fair.
If a school, charity, or church group you know is in need of funds, why not collect empty cartridges from the neighborhood as a fundraiser? Once you collect the cartridges, sell them in bulk online and donate the proceeds to the fund. It’s a great initiative and you kill two birds with the same stone: you help keep the planet green and you also help those that need the money most.
This is something you can do online or in-store. Some office supply retailers have their own recycling programs that give coupons in exchange for cartridges you turn in for recycling. Loyalty program members may get more goodies, such as reward points you can use for future purchases or a discount on printer ink that you purchase. If you buy school and office supplies on a regular basis from a local store, it would be a good idea to sign up as a member.
Reusing is technically not recycling, but consider this option if it’s the first time your cartridge runs out of ink. You can reuse empty inkjet cartridges by having them refilled. There are many companies that can refill cartridges for you, saving you the cost of buying a new one. You can also purchase DIY refill kits just be careful you don’t end up spilling the ink and damaging the cartridge’s components. When a cartridge reaches the end of its life—say, around up to a maximum of five refills—that’s when it’s time to recycle.