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Remanufactured Printer Ink

Updated on February 26, 2011

Picking the Right Remanufactured Printer Ink

There are many new methods of saving money on printer inks. However, not all methods are considered equal. Some of the differences between Refilled ink cartridges, Re-Manufactured Ink Cartridges, and New (OEM) Ink Cartridges are discussed here as well as recommendations on safely buying environmentally friendly, cost effective re-manufactured cartridges.


The refill method may be one of the cheapest options out there. Individuals who have time on their hands can even purchase kits to re-fill their own cartridges and large barrels of cheap ink. Purchased ink should be handled carefully and always evaluated for its toxicity level. This method may spare you some pocket change. However, complaints can often arise about the degrading lack of performance of the re-filled cartridge. Because the cartridge was simply re-filled, the inner workings of the appliance are used, and may contain dried ink or dirt that affects the performance of the cartridge, or the duration of the cartridge ability to print. Consumers may have heard from each other before "yes, it was cheap, but it only lasted half as long."

"PC WORLD reports that refilled cartridges have higher failure rates, print fewer pages than new cartridges, and demonstrate more on-page problems like streaking, curling, and colour bleed." (Source - Wikopedia


New (OEM) cartridges are guaranteed to work. They may often have a micro-chip on them which allows your printer to recognize the cartridge and its expiration date. The chip may also prevent the use of third-party or refilled ink cartridges. However, consumers are often frustrated by the high prices of new inks. They note that printers are practically given away at stores, only to find their price ticket runs sky high when purchasing inks.

" ... Some manufacturers, ...have been accused of indicating that a cartridge is depleted while a substantial amount of ink remains.... Single-ink cartridges were found to have on average 20% of their ink remaining, though actual figures range from 9% to 64% of the cartridge's total ink capacity, depending on the brand and model of printer.This problem is further compounded with the use of multi-ink cartridges, which are declared empty as soon as one color runs low." (source Wikopedia:

Is there a solution that lies somewhere between the high cost (yet dependable) new cartridges and the low cost (but not dependable) refills? That answer may lie in well constructed re-manufactured ink cartridges.


Re-manufactured ink costs fall somewhere between the cost of a new cartridge and a re-filled one. A well constructed re-manufactured cartridge contains new inner parts and inner workings to the cartridge. It is not simply re-filled; it is an OEM cartridge which has been used, then disassembled and cleaned. The inner workings are replaced new, and a comparable ink is put into the cartridge. The micro-chip on the cartridge is replaced so that your printer will recognize the re-manufactured cartridge as full, with a new expiration date. It is not a third party cartridge. A good re-manufactured cartridge is the outer hull of an OEM cartridge; recycled, re-used, and teamed up with some new parts.

However, everyone has heard of someone who tried a re-manufactured cartridge which worked much like a re-filled cartridge. It only lasted half as long and dried up in no time at all. It leaked, or their printer didn't recognize the cartridge. These kinds of horror stories about re-manufactured cartridges still abound as cheap, backyard, garage, hand sawed cartridges, and foreign re-manufactures hit the market and consumers purchase on price point alone.


Re-manufactures can be good quality. Here are some recommendations in choosing a good re-manufactured ink cartridge to ensure that you are buying a good re-manufactured cartridge (at a great price!) rather than shoddy cheap product:

1) Is the re-manufactured product you wish to buy made in an ISO certified facility under the highest standards?

2) Is the re-manufactured ink cartridge made in the USA, or is it made in foreign or non-local plants which may be less accountable?

3) What is the return policy? Is there a money-back guarantee or exchange warranty if the cartridge does not meet your printing standards, leaks, dries up or doesn't work? IF there is no guarantee or warranties, why should you believe in a product which the company itself does not believe in?

4) What kind of ink is the re-manufacture using? If the company cannot tell you the brand of their ink, and offer ink comparison charts for special printing needs such as wide format, then this might be a sign to turn away!

5) What kind of testing do the cartridges go through? If the company stress tests their cartridges and can provide the measurements of "defaulting" cartridges in comparison with NEW default cartridge standards, you can determine if it's a good cartridge or not before buying. If the company cannot provide these details, why not?

6) How well are the factory workers treated? I know this question may not seem important for quality concerns, but if workers are treated well, they also treat the cartridges well.

7) Printer Refunds - your printer warranty is protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. But, what if your warranty is expired? Will the ink company pay for the cost of printer repairs if the cartridge damages it? If the answer is yes, then this is a good company that believes in their product quality.

8) Is there any quality control on toner particles, both in size and in protecting the toner from heat (which may melt toner and cause large particles, defective cartridges, or just printing which smears when touched).



The environmental impact of printer ink cartridges is higher than some people realize. Did you know that it takes 3/4 quart of oil to create just one laser ink cartridge?

The California Government has a law asking all state agencies to spend at least 50% of the dollars they spend on plastic products, on:

"· Be a recycled cartridge that has undergone a process of collecting, sorting, cleansing, treating, or reconstituting, and which has been returned for the remanufacture of a used cartridge.

· Be a remanufactured cartridge that has been restored, renovated, repaired, or recharged, without substantial alteration of its form.

· Consist of at least 10 percent postconsumer material."

This is because re-manufactured ink cartridges reduce waste:

"Remanufactured toner cartridges save resources by reusing components instead of disposing of them after one use." (SOURCE: CA GOV

INFORM notes that:

"Using remanufactured cartridges has significant economic and environmental advantages:

· Remanufactured cartridges save money. Recycled cartridges are from 30 to 60 percent less expensive on a cost per copy basis. King County, Washington, procured its remanufactured toner cartridges through a long-term contract at about a third the price of new, saving $350,000 on 4000 units.

· Remanufactured cartridges create jobs. Purchasing remanufactured toner and inkjet cartridges and recycling the empties are two ways to create jobs and strengthen the local economy. In 1998, there were more than 6000 remanufacturers in the US, most of which were locally owned businesses.

· Remanufactured cartridges save energy. Approximately three quarts of oil are burned in the production of a single new toner cartridge. A used cartridge can be remanufactured up to four times, depending on type and condition, saving up to three quarts of fuel each time.

· Remanufacturing minimizes waste. Remanufacturing cartridges decreases the amount of plastic, steel, aluminum, and rubber sent to landfills and burned in incinerators. According to Recharger Magazine, cartridge remanufacturing reduced municipal solid waste by almost 38,000 tons in 1998."



Remanufactured cartridges have a lot of benefits. Getting a dependable, good company which offers high quality re-manufactured ink cartridges to supply your office or home may be a great way to save some money, help with recycling, help the environment, and make sure you are getting quality printing. Good re-manufactured ink cartridge companies depend on their ability to pick up and recycle the used (new) cartridges that the OEMs make. This creates a fantastic balance between the new cartridges and the re-manufactured cartridges. However, as ink prices start to drop, consumers may note that printer prices may start to rise.

About Ink Baby

 Ink Baby is an ink and toner company providing eco-friendly, worker friendly, USA made printer cartridges. With donations to charities, a frequent shopper rewards program, and free printer software, you can feel good about shopping at Ink Baby!


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