Got a few ink cartridges piling up on your desk because you don’t know what to do with them? The good news is that, almost all of the materials used to make ink cartridges are recyclable. Here are the 3 best ways to recycle ink cartridges – the easiest, too, brought to you with support from CartridgesDirect.com.au.
Before we get to where to recycle, the question might be, Why bother?
⇒Throw away less plastic – Cartridges can take anywhere between 400 and 1000 years to decompose in a landfill, reports CartridgesDirect.
During that process, microplastic is getting into the soil and our ground water, as well as into lakes, rivers, and the ocean.
In Australia alone, more than 25 million ink cartridges end up in landfills every year.
In the U.S., reports InkPal.com, we throw away 750 cartridges every minute. That figure equates to 400 million cartridges per year.
Recent estimates show that 70% of used printer cartridges are discarded around the globe. Stacked end-to-end, one year’s worth of the world’s discarded cartridges alone could circle the planet more than three times.
⇒Save energy – The cartridge itself is made of plastic. Remanufacturing plastic cartridges uses 80% less energy than making new plastic. Plus, it takes about a gallon of oil to make the plastics and chemicals necessary for the production of a new laser cartridge.
⇒Be a good person – Any time we can reuse resources, save energy, and make less trash, we should do it. It’s a way we can do the right thing and be responsible “eco citizens” and leave our world a better place for future generations.
3 Best Ways to Recycle Ink Cartridges
Now for the good part: the 3 best ways to recycle ink cartridges.
Fortunately, recycling ink cartridges is actually really easy. Here are the easiest and best ways I’ve found for recycling my own ink cartridges.
♥ DROP THEM OFF AT A LOCAL STORE OR RECYCLING CENTER– Most office supply stores and “big box” stores (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Staples, etc.) will take your cartridges back at no charge to you. Simply put them in a paper bag (so you don’t get ink on your hands) and drop them off the next time you’re at the store. Or, enter your zip code at this Earth911.com site and they’ll help you find a nearby recycling center that will accept your cartridges.
♥ POP THEM IN THE MAIL – If you buy cartridges online, choose a company that includes a shipping label in the package so you can easily mail back your old cartridges when you get a new one. If you have HP cartridges, you can get a postage-paid shipping label right here. Check with other cartridge suppliers as well.
♥ DONATE THEM – Because used ink cartridges are so valuable, many charities collect them and then sell them to recyclers as a fundraiser. Recycle4Charity pays cash for empty cartridges. So does FundingFactory . Cartridges4charity.co.uk redeems used ink cartridges for the Against Malaria Foundation. Cartridges for Kids pays schools and non-profit organizations for ink cartridges, as well as cell phones, iPods, and tablets.
A Few Green Buying Tips
While you want to recycle your cartridges rather than trash them, be green when you buy them, too:
♦ Use fewer cartridges overall by printing less in the first place. Rather than print tickets out, for example, send them to your mobile device. Read rough drafts of documents online. Print in sans serif type, which uses less ink than more elaborate typefaces.
♦ Buy remanufactured ink cartridges. These cartridges will be checked, repaired and refilled with ink that is compatible with your printer. Check online sources, but also know that many Ace Hardware stores sell remanufactured and refilled ink cartridges. (Keep your purchase receipt, in case the remanufactured cartridge doesn’t work perfectly with your printer.)
♦ Use what you buy. Don’t “stock up” on cartridges you’ll never use. If you’re printing a lot less, you’ll need far fewer cartridges, right? If you’ll save money buying cartridges in bulk, find someone to share the purchase with you, rather than stockpile cartridges you don’t need.
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