How to Properly Dispose of Ink Cartridges

Four Methods:Taking Spent Cartridges to a RetailerReturning Cartridges to the ManufacturerRefilling Cartridges to Use AgainRegistering With a Recycling Program

Throwing spent ink cartridges into the garbage is bad for the environment and a waste of plastic. Unfortunately, some components of the cartridges make it so we cannot recycle these at home. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to reduce the impact of our printing waste and make sure these cartridges don’t just sit in landfills.

Method 1
Taking Spent Cartridges to a Retailer

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    Determine your best option. Taking empty cartridges to a store is the surest way to get something back aside from a sense of satisfaction. If you print and buy frequently, this is the way to go.
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    Find the right store. Most office supply stores will accept spent cartridges as part of a rewards program, so you’ll want to find a place that you visit frequently. Local participation may vary.
    • Office Depot accepts ink cartridges as part of their rewards program.
    • Staples accepts cartridges purchased from them and will provide a $2 rewards credit.
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    Keep the cycle going. Often these programs reward with discounts on more ink. Keep returning them to keep saving money!

Method 2
Returning Cartridges to the Manufacturer

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    Determine if your manufacturer has a recycling program. Many manufacturers package their ink cartridges with a returnable envelope. If not, check the manufacturer's website or call to see if they support a recycling program.
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    Pack the cartridges. Manufacturers will often specify guidelines on how to pack and ship the spent cartridges to avoid leakage. Make sure to follow their specific instructions.
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    Ship the cartridges. Once the manufacturer receives the cartridges they will handle the recycling. Give yourself some credit - your effort is helping the environment!

Method 3
Refilling Cartridges to Use Again

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    Determine if reuse is right for you. Reusing ink cartridges is low-cost and very environmentally friendly, but you do have to wait while the cartridges are cleaned and refilled.
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    Check that your cartridges are supported for refill. Some cartridges are not designed for refill. Others also may not be accepted by retailers for various reasons.
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    Find a refill location near you. Major retailers like Walgreens or Costco will fill empty cartridges for a fee.

Method 4
Registering With a Recycling Program

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    Find the right program. There are a number of independent charities or programs that will accept or even pay money for spent cartridges. Think about a cause you want to support but also keep in mind the scale. Often these organizations are targeting businesses for donations.
    • Some organizations may have volume or frequency minimums in order to use their service.
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    Sign up for the program. Whichever program you settle on, most require that you enroll in order to donate. Typically there is a simple web-form you can fill out to register.
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    Start contributing. Once you’re signed up, most organizations will send you shipping supplies and instructions on how to donate.

Tips

  • Place cartridges in Ziploc bags. After your first donation, the company will provide the envelopes for you.
  • Conserve ink! Be conscious about how much you print. Don’t print in color when black & white will do.

Article Info

Categories: Printers