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Inkjet Cartridge Recycling

Updated on June 30, 2010

It is extremely difficult to re-educate a world of 6.8 billion people accustomed to a disposable society to reduce and reuse, but one of the simplest and easiest green strategies that can be implemented almost anywhere is to have your spent inkjet cartridges refilled or remanufactured.

Inkjet printers have become ubiquitous in offices and homes around the world. They offer various advantages over other types of computer printers such as lasers. They are less expensive to purchase and can generate high quality color output which with some models and special paper stocks can simulate the appearance of a high quality photographic print.

The problem is that the inkjet cartridges which fit into each model and spray a fine jet of colored ink onto the pages are quickly emptied. Most people simply toss the cartridge into the trash and purchase a new one. The re-education process which has to be executed is one to convince these inkjet owners to stop before they throw that valuable inkjet cartridge away and either have it refilled or sent off for remanufacturing.

Refilling the ink cartridge is extremely simple. There are many kits on the market which allow you to bring the cartridge back up to full with a simple syringe-type mechanism. There are some cheap clones of the quality brands on the market, so ensure that you are purchasing a refill kit from an acknowledged major manufacturer. Cheaper kits will refill your cartridge with substandard inks which will result in extremely poor printing quality.

Another option is to trade in the cartridge at one of the many inkjet specialty retailers. It's likely that there is one at your closest shopping center, or refer to the Yellow Pages under "Inkjet Cartridges", "Printing Supplies", or "Computer Supplies and Accessories."

These companies will take in your empty inkjet cartridge for refurbishment and provide a replacement on the spot, usually at a lower price than a new original. You can be assured that if the retailer is well established, your cartridge will feature a money back guarantee that it work just as well as a new original.

Disposed inkjet cartridges pose a worldwide waste problem. The materials within the cartridges do not easily lend themselves to recycling and if placed into landfill will take five centuries to decompose. Over 400 million cartridges go into North American landfill sites every year, a rate of more than a million a day. If all the cartridges that end up in North American landfills each 48 hours were laid in a line they would stretch around the world at the equator.

The cartridge bodies are composed of petroleum-based plastics, thus 100% compliance with inkjet cartridge remanufacturing and refilling would be responsible for avoiding the consumption of 35 million gallons of oil every year in North America alone. The worldwide consumption is several times that amount.

The vast majority of the printer cartridges on the market are refillable and/or remanufacturable. Before purchasing any inkjet printer ensure that the cartridges are not among the tiny minority that have to be disposed of. You will be taking your step towards helping to solve this global dilemma.

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