Recycling Printer Cartridges

I was standing in line at the post office the other day when I noticed a display with little zipper bags for recycling printer cartridges. I almost passed it by, thinking that I didn't want to pay the postage to mail mine in, when I noticed that the plastic bags are already addressed and POSTAGE PAID. What an easy (and frugal) way to help the environment!


By Cindy B. in PA

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By Kitty Cathy kay Simpkins (Guest Post)
October 12, 20040 found this helpful

Orrrrr, if you take those ink cartridges to Office Depot, they'll exchange them for a FREE ream of paper!

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By katie a. (Guest Post)
October 12, 20040 found this helpful

I agree it is better to do something with them rather than throw them away. HOWEVER, don't think the folks who put the mailers in the Post Office are doing it for altruistic reasons. The companies you send them to desperately need you to give them free cartridges, because they refill them and resell them. If you don't send them to them, they are out of business. To tell the truth, I don't know why the USPS supports that particular business venture when it doesn't support every other business venture people come up with.


I think a better idea is to order an ink refill from one of the thousands of places that sells them online, and refill your own. Eventually, after a number of refills, the printer head will give out, but refilling is so cheap that even if it gives out right after you refill it, you have saved yourself LOTS of money over the life of the cartridge.

When you buy a refilled/reconditioned cartridge you don't know how many times it has been refilled already. For all you know, THAT refill might be the last one before the head is shot. Then you will not save much because the refilled cartridge is somewhat expensive and you may not even get a complete use out of it.

My suggestion then is: buy a new cartridge and a refill kit, then use and refill yours as many times as you can before the head wears out, saving yourself a LOT of money.

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By Stacy from El Paso (Guest Post)
October 12, 20040 found this helpful

I take mine to my children's elementary school. They then turn them in and receive money back for school equipment. You may want to check with your local schools.

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By Colin (Guest Post)
July 2, 20070 found this helpful

Send them to PC Friend and get a quid for each one!

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July 16, 20100 found this helpful

We take all of our empty cartridges to Staples and get $2.00 added onto our rewards certificate. They accept 10 cartridges per month. That has worked really well for us.

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 270 Feedbacks
July 16, 20100 found this helpful

First, I refill my own cartridges. My last printer was almost 3 yrs old when I changed the cartridge. Learn to care for it correctly and they don't wear out quickly.


Second, if you are not going to refill and use, then there are many non profit organizations which collect them to use for their funding. Humane Societies, fund raising for school projects/playground equipment, libraries and most recent are for personal supplies to be sent to our soldiers in combat. They use them to purchase phone cards too. These are the ones here locally as well as over the upper mid-west states that do, as well as others. They have drop off sites--could be the local grocery store or your local bank. Where ever you see the Points for Education (General Mills) containers, there is the drop off for cartridges and old cell phones.

So before you whip them to a big business, check for the non profit group first.

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