There are nearly 2 billion ink cartridges sold each year, with an estimated 350 million ending up in landfills. This is not only harmful from the perspective of the extra waste in landfills, but also in that it takes up to 5 ounces of oil to manufacture a new cartridge. By recycling your ink and toner cartridges, you can not only keep them from ending up in a landfill, but also contribute to remanufacturing programs that can help eliminate much of the waste involved in manufacturing brand new cartridges.
A number of different organizations and even printer manufacturers themselves offer programs that make it easy for users to recycle their empty cartridges, and some can even help you contribute to charity as you do it. Here are a few recycling programs you can take advantage of:
Cartridges for Kids and Other Charities
The Cartridges for Kids program not only recycles cartridges, cell phones, and other electronics, but allows schools and organizations to earn money for each item donated. Organizations can visit the site to find enrollment instructions, then spread the word around the community. Check with your favorite charity to see if they offer a similar program as a fundraiser.
Many office stores such as Staples and Office Depot provide recycling programs right inside the store. This is one of the most convenient options, as shoppers can simply return them without the need for mailing labels and trips to the post office. Many of these programs even reward buyers with cash that can be used to purchase replacements.
Ink Technologies offers our own recycling program for toner cartridges, but you will need at least 8 empty cartridges at a time to take advantage of it. After filling out the form, you will receive a bag with a return label for shipping.
Most manufacturers such as HP, Epson, and Xerox have recycling programs available as well. Some provide credit toward new cartridges when you send in your empty ones for recycling. Unfortunately, you will often be paying more when purchasing directly from the manufacturer. Check your printer manufacturer’s website for a recycling page.
Millions of reusable cartridges are dumped into landfills or incinerated each year. These can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, making them quite a burden on the environment. Recycling is therefore very important, and remanufactured cartridges made from recycled cartridges are available at much lower costs, providing users a lower-cost alternative.