How to Recycle Printer Cartridges

Authored by Tamara L. Waters in Environment
Published on 07-25-2009

If you have a computer and a printer you probably have something else: those empty printer ink cartridges hanging around, collecting dust. You might be like most people – stacking them on your desk or throwing them into a drawer. Whatever you do, don’t toss them in the trash (now you know that’s not green!) Instead, learn how to recycle those used printer cartridges.

There are a few easy ways to recycle printer cartridges. You just need to know where to look to find the best information. Here are a few tips and pointers to help you go green with your used printer cartridges and clean up the clutter on your desk at the same time.

Recycle printer cartridges for fund raising

Community organizations – such as libraries, schools and churches – may choose to collect and recycle printer cartridges as a fund raising project. Interested members or patrons may drop used cartridges into a collection box and the organization will hold the cartridges until they have enough to mail in for cash (usually a minimum of 20 used cartridges is required). Websites such as www.freecycling.com offer this program.

Recycle printer cartridges for extra cash

Individuals can save up and send in their used printer cartridges for extra cash. Do a search for “recycle printer cartridges” to get a listing of websites (in addition to freecycling.com) that have recycling for cash programs. Most printer cartridge recycling sites will offer roughly three dollars for each used ink cartridge.

Recycle printer cartridges by mail or drop off location

Discount stores such as Wal-Mart offer postage paid mailers for customers who simply want to recycle their used cartridges with no incentive other than reducing waste. Mailers are usually located in the electronics department of the store with the new printer cartridges. This is a convenient way to recycle those used ink cartridges – drop the used one into the plastic mailer that comes in the new cartridge’s box.

In addition, companies such as Hewlett-Packard include a postage paid mailer with every new cartridge. HP also has established drop off sites for recycling cartridges at local Staples office supply stores. When dropping off used cartridges through the HP program, you can receive $3 in Staples rewards.

Staples has a recycling program called InkDrop which allows customers to mail in a used cartridge and receive a replacement cartridge in the mail. Staples turns around and recycles the used cartridges. While there is no financial incentive for recycling printer cartridges in this manner, it still reduces waste and eliminates that clutter buildup of used cartridges on your desk.

Recycle printer cartridges by refilling and reusing

Check in your local community for businesses that offer a printer cartridge refill service. Most Walgreens stores offer this service. In addition, many office supply and retail stores that carry printer cartridges sell refill kits.

Whatever your choice for recycling your printer cartridges, rest assured that you will receive some type of benefit from recycling. You can save money (sometimes even earn money), reduce waste in the environment, and clear out the clutter from your desk. Your desk will thank you.


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