Recycling Ink Cartridges: 8 Tips for Doing it the Right Way

Posted by Premium Toners on

How often do you use the printer? Every day? Every few days?

If anything, it’s become a necessity nowadays. Imagine life without it—you’d have to copy out everything by hand!

There’s just one issue—printer ink can be expensive. Depending on the brand, a small cartridge can easily cost you $40 or more. It might not even last that long either!

Looking for an ink cartridges hack? Perhaps some tips on how you can use them for longer? If so, you’re on the right page! We’ll be going over a few things below.

Keep reading to learn more!

The Complicated World of Printer Ink Recycling

Printer cartridges come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Unlike the printer they run in, though, they are a lot more finite. When they run out, the first response is often to trash them.

Wait a minute and think. Printer cartridges aren't cheap plastic casing, they have a good amount of function. An empty cartridge is not a broken one, so there are plenty of options to do with it instead of tossing it out with the spoiled food.

Helping the Planet

Landfills are becoming a bigger problem each day and we don't have a ready solution. There are a massive number of ink cartridges in those landfills, almost 400 million units. 

Doing your part to keep these cartridges out of the landfill doesn't have to be a massive task! There are many ways to recycle and reused old printer cartridges.

Here are 8 tips to keep your printer uses as helpful to the environment as you can!

1. Take Care of Your Cartridges

If you aim to recycle or even reuse, damaged cartridges do you no good. It is a good idea to take care of your cartridges anyways, so this is a step that should make for an easy start.

Rough handling and ignoring proper directions are the two biggest reasons you can damage a cartridge. Follow instructions for installation, removal, and storage.

2. Consider Recycling or Refilling

There are two main options for getting rid of your used cartridges without dumping them into the trash. You can recycle, or you can refill. 

Recycling requires a proper place to dispose of your cartridges. Some even have restrictions on what kind of cartridges they can take, how much, and when.

The other option is refilling. This doesn't work for all cartridges, requires a special kit and some extra work on your part, but can help a cartridge last much longer than normal. 

3. Recycling Areas

There are a number of different places you can drop off a used ink cartridge for recycling. These can range from an office supply store to a special area designated by a recycling program.

If you need to find a place around you, Earth911 is a great website for finding recycling plants across the country. 

There are several charities that also take recycled goods for various benefits. 

Make sure to ask if they get recycled instead of trashed in a different way. 

4. Recycling by Mail

If you aren't near a recycling center, don't worry, you still have options. Many locations accept mail-in donations. There are a few items to consider with this, though.

Make sure your cartridges are empty all the way. Clean them out if you have to. You don't want a bunch of ink to leak out and soil whatever envelope you put them in.

As well, if you are going to mail them, try and mail them in bulk. If you are not a big business and don't go through ink cartridges a lot, then consider storing them for later or refilling them. 

5. The Refilling Process

The refilling process is a way to keep your initial ink cartridges going for longer. 

Again, you have two options. Some stores offer cartridge refills from the photo department. This will often require some sort of purchase, but some may offer it for free. You can do it while shopping for convenience. 

The other option is a Do-It-Yourself approach. You can purchase cartridge refill kits at most any office supply store. These have clear instructions, but be mindful of spills.

For refilling, you will want gloves and a covered area to work in. Do not work over furniture or carpet, no matter how careful you are. 

6. Limited Refills

Keep in mind that refilling is not a perfect process. As well, you can only some cartridges a few times. 

As well, refilling will often cost a bit more due to the charge of the service or buying the kit. It is far cheaper than buying a new ink cartridge, but if you are low on expendable income, it is something to consider. 

7. Safety First

As always, you need to consider safety. Ink is toxic to consume, so while cleaning and refilling, be careful to not expose yourself to any of it.

Skin contact can be fine if you wash afterward, but a common problem is touching your eyes or mouth before washing. This can cause massive irritation and potential toxic ingestion.

When storing them, make sure they are very clean or well out of reach of pets and children. Both would be best, but do what you can. 

8. Reduction Helps Recycling

The final tip to help make recycling your printer ink cartridges easy is to do what you can to reduce your use. The fewer used cartridges you have, the less you will need to recycle. 

This does not mean not printing or ignoring ink cartridges. Instead, be mindful of when you print and do your best to print with page space in mind.

If you have a small item to print, try and print it with other items if you can. This saves paper and another print run.

Quality Care, Quality Product

Printer ink recycling can be a quick and efficient method of keeping landfills free of printer cartridge plastic. Doing your part doesn't have to be a pain.

When all is said and done, you'll need some new printer cartridges! From every brand to every style, we have you covered. Need help finding what you need? Contact us today for more information!


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  • Do you guys recycle your used toner cartridges? If so, do you pay for postage?, how do I return then, as HP & Canon have better recycling policies

    Paul Matulewicz WCCP on

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