Published on September 23rd, 2019 | by George Mendelson


6 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Recycle Old Printer Cartridge

Millions of used ink cartridges and toners are thrown into the trash every month. Old or completely used printer ink and toner cartridges discarded in this manner eventually end up in landfills, steadily contributing to our collective carbon footprint.

While prophecies of paperless homes and offices have been doing rounds for a long time now, the reality is that individuals and especially businesses will continue to rely on printed materials for years to come.

The good news is that a bunch of convenient solutions for recycling ink cartridges does exist; such solutions are used by many eco-conscious consumers all over the world. Here in this post, we list out 6 simple yet effective ways to recycle old printer cartridges:

1. Contact Your Local Office Supplies Store

Call your local office supplies store where you purchased your ink cartridge or printer. Find out if they have a policy of returning empty cartridges. Most companies offering printers and ink cartridges provide the option of in-store recycling through authorized collection centers.

You can also call any other retailer dealing in printers and ink cartridges in your locality. Chances are that they’d be taking used ink cartridges for recycling.

Turning in your empty ink cartridges may not earn you an extra buck but you’ll have the peace of mind for having done your bit in helping the planet.

Read out – Important Things To Learn About Inkjet Cartridges

2. Find a Local Recycling Center

Finding a local recycling facility is easier than you might think. Earth911, for instance, helps people all over North America find recycling centers for different types of materials. You just need to type in the zip code and the material that you’re trying to recycle.

Similar databases of recycling facilities exist for other countries/continents as well. A quick online search will help you find one.

Make sure to call a local recycling center ahead of time or scan through their website to find out if any packaging instructions need to be followed prior to recycling.

3. Recycle Ink Cartridges by Selling Them

You can make some extra cash of your own or fundraise for a charity by selling old ink cartridges. ‘Cartridge buy back’ websites such as Inkjetsclub, Toner Buyer, Dazz Cycle, Funding Factory, NeedEmpty, UsRecycleInk, and e-Cycle Group pay a small amount to buy printer ink cartridges that are empty.

Such websites list their prices online and may even provide you with a prepaid postage label and shipping box, should they be interested in buying your cartridges. All such companies only accept original brand cartridges. Damaged or remanufactured ink cartridges, therefore, cannot be sold.

Auctioning off ink cartridges on eBay is also a sound idea. You just need to create an eBay account, list your ink cartridges with a starting price and wait for other users to bid. Remember to mention all important details such as:

  • Manufacturer and model no.
  • Type of ink cartridge
  • Pictures of cartridge
  • Whether it has been refilled in past

Selling on eBay is an ideal recycling option if you own multiple printers and ink cartridges pile up quickly. Instead of trying to sell one or two ink cartridges at a time, try to sell them in a lot. This will almost certainly help attract more buyers. An unused toner buyer like Sell Toner is also a great place for your to earn some money if you have a surplus of toner cartridges

4. Donate to a Charity

Taking baby steps to reduce e-waste while supporting a charity is indeed a great option for recycling your old cartridges.

Several organizations offer cash or charity donations for used ink cartridges. Nearly all such organizations provide prepaid shipping boxes to donors.

You can donate the proceeds to a charity that you find personally meaningful or choose to receive partial/full cashback. You can find the list of charities supported by these organizations on their websites.

Empties4Cash and Cartridges For Kids are two such organizations.

5. Participate in a Reward Program

Several major retailers encourage customers to turn in empty ink cartridges through various incentive programs. You may earn reward points for a future purchase at the store or get a discount the next time you buy a new cartridge.

Most retailers have a limit on the number of empty cartridges that you can submit for recycling over a timeframe. Also, they may have a policy of accepting used ink cartridges manufactured by certain brands only.

6. Consider Refilling

If you’ve used an original brand ink cartridge just once, chances are that you can refill and reuse it. You can buy a printer ink refill kit or visit a local retailer dealing in printing devices for refilling. Keep in mind that the ink type and refilling instructions vary across brand and ink cartridge type.

Please note that ink cartridges can only be reused a couple of times. With repeated use, the print quality will diminish; eventually, you’ll have to purchase a new ink cartridge. Some ink cartridges mention expiration dates too.

Final Words

As global e-waste reaches record high (almost 50 million metric tons in 2018), it is our shared responsibility to make collective efforts to contain this rapidly escalating problem. Recycling old printer cartridges is one initiative that you can take in this direction!

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About the Author

My name is George Mendelson. I am the PR Media Manager at, a nationwide leading ink and toner retailer. One of my passions is educating and helping people through all the issues related to Printers, Ink Cartridges and Toners. You can follow our Facebook and Twitter channels as well.

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