What do you need to know about recycling printer cartridges?
Every year, more than 300 million used, empty printer cartridges enter the waste stream all around the world. Recycling your laser and ink jet printer cartridges is a great way to reduce both the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills and energy consumption. (It takes a gallon of oil to manufacture one inkjet cartridge.)
Most cartridges can be recycled up to six times, and are guaranteed by most manufacturers to work as well as brand-new ones.
To recycle printer cartridges, retailers or remanufacturers collect them from consumers and businesses after they are emptied, either via the mail or various drop-off programs. The cartridges are disassembled and cleaned, and any necessary replacement parts are added. High-quality toner or ink is added, and the cartridges are tested and packaged for redistribution. Powdered toner is used for laser cartridges, while liquid ink is used in inkjet cartridges.
Remanufactured cartridges contain high-quality components, and give excellent printing results. They also cost less than those sold by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
How to Recycle your Printer Cartridges
Look at the instructions in the box of your new printer cartridges to find out how to recycle your empty ones. Many companies will provide instructions, packaging materials and free postage if you wish to recycle your old cartridge, which is then refilled and used again.
Several retailers, including office supply retailers like Staples and Office Depot, have programs encouraging their customers to recycle cartridges, such as in-store drop-boxes or money-back offers for each cartridge recycled. Some companies offer a donation to charities in exchange for returned empty printer cartridges.
You can also find printer-cartridge recyclers near you at Earth 911.
(sources: e-How; Staples; Earth 911; Recharger Magazine)
Want to learn more?