How to Recycle Inkjet Cartridges

By Chris Moore

As more and more people use personal printers and the ink cartridges they need, many of those cartridges are thrown away and end up in landfills once they run out of ink. These hard plastic cartridges take thousands of years to decompose. Reusing and recycling ink and toner cartridges not only keeps them out of the landfills, but can save a lot of money and energy. Plastic can be re-manufactured at only 20 percent of the energy used to produce it new. Refurbished ink cartridges can be purchased at less than half the cost of originals. There are also many ways to reuse and recycle ink cartridges.

Step 1

Refill your own cartridges. Reusing is even better than recycling. Most ink cartridges can be refilled with any type of store-bought refill kit, which mainly involves injecting new ink into the cartridge with a syringe bottle. There are also stores and vendors that will refill them professionally, as they can get the most ink back into the cartridge.

Step 2

Take the cartridge back to the store you purchased it from. Even the bigger electronics and other chain stores that sell ink cartridges will often take the cartridges back at the desk personally. Or, they may have a bin in the ink department or at the doors to deposit the cartridges in.

Step 3

Donate the cartridges to a resale shop like Cartridge World. You may not have a use for the one old cartridge, but these stores can clean them, refurbish them, refill them and sell them at lower prices than the new ones. They wll work as good as new, too.

Step 4

Mail the cartridges back to the manufacturer. HP and many other computer manufacturers will take back their old cartridges and refurbish them. Often, the cartridges include a mailing label to show you where they can be sent to. The post office also has special envelopes for you to mail them (and other recyclables) with no postage cost.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can help contribute to the recycling effort by purchasing recycled and refilled cartridges. They can be a lot cheaper than new cartridges. The more recycled cartridges resale stores sell, the further the recycling goes.Some organizations, like the "Cartridges For Kids" program, will actually pay schools and other non-profit organizations for giving them their old ink cartridges.

References & Resources