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Ink Cartridges Recycling

Updated on July 26, 2010

The sheer mass of disposed ink cartidges has created a waste disposal crisis around the world. The ink cartridge bodies themselves are not recyclable into other products as they contain too many different elements. When an ink cartridge body is dumped into a landfill will take well over 450 years to fully decompose.

A staggering billion ink cartridges are dumped into landfill sites every year. That translates to a rate of well over 100,000 every hour around the clock every day. If you could pile up all the ink cartridges disposed of every week one atop the other, the resultant stack would reach to the moon and loop back to the Earth.

Our global disposable-oriented society has to be convinced to reduce and reuse all vital materials, and ink cartridges should be high on this list. It is extremely easy, economical and convenient to get empty ink cartridges either refilled or remanufactured in any urban center around the world, and more people would comply if they understood the dimensions of the problem, and the money that they can save by engaging in these simple actions:

1) Take the spent ink cartridge to any one of the several ink specialty retailers which are most certainly present very near your current location. Refer to the local Yellow Pages under "Computer Supplies and Accessories", "Ink Cartridges", or "Printing Supplies". The retailer will exchange your empty cartridge and give you an immediate replacement at a cost which can be as little as half the cost of a new original ink cartridge. Most reputable retailers offer a money back guarantee that the ink cartridge will function in exactly the same way as a new original, and sometimes may even have higher page yields.


2) Refill your own ink cartridge. This is an extremely simple and basic process that anyone can perform. Simply purchase one of the many kits on the market compatible with your type of ink cartridge. These kits contain a simple syringe-type mechanism which allow you to refill your existing cartridge with a full supply of fresh ink. This option is often even less expensive than trading in your existing cartridge at the local retailer, and as long as you ensure that the kit is manufactured by a reputable, major company, the result will provide printing quality indistinguishable from a new original ink cartridge.

Prior to purchasing any computer printer which functions on the inkjet principle you should confirm that the cartridges are not among the small number on the market which are not refillable and/or remanufacturable.

Petroleum-based plastics make up the bulk of the ink cartridge bodies, therefore if remanufacturing and refilling were to become an universal practice it would be responsible for avoiding the consumption of well over 100 million gallons of crude oil every year. This amount of crude results in a yield of over 70 million gallons of varied vehicle fuels, or enough for a fleet of over 150,000 Volkswagen Golfs to drive around the world. Isn't that enough incentive to not throw that ink cartridge in the garbage?


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    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      When I first discovered how to refill a cartridge, I thought I was the only one ... later I heard someone asking the secretary to save up all the used cartridges for him ... I was wondering why!

    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 7 years ago from Macon, GA

      Good hub. I don't know why programs like the one at Office Max don't get more publicity.

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 7 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      The first I heard of ink cartridge recycling was when Office Max offered me $3 for each cartridge I gave them.

      Nice hub!