CRE8 | Reuse and Recycle Printer Cartridge

CRE8 | Reuse & Recycle Printer Cartridges

Reuse and Recycle Printer Cartridges

When people think of recycling, the first thing that pops up in their mind is recycling papers, metals cans, glass bottles or even batteries. Who would’ve thought, printer cartridge recycling is also possible. The concept of going green and saving the earth with reduced printing and going paperless has been initiated for quite a while. However, though the numbers have been reduced, it has not been completely wiped out yet. Truth to be told, the numbers are still very significant in our everyday lives. The culture of printing is still largely dominant and when we print, there’s bound to be empty cartridges that are discarded as waste in landfills. If you’re a person who believes in saving the environment, who believes in reducing wastes produced from used up cartridges, or simply put, a responsible individual altogether, you should start recycling cartridges after it has been consumed. Here are some frequently asked questions that we have gathered if you have any doubts to clear.


What are the cartridges that I can recycle?

For simple explanation, there are two different types of cartridges. These are the two types of printers that are commonly used today; the inkjet printer and the laser printer.

Inkjet cartridges

  • Liquid-based ink absorbed onto a sponge
  • Directly loads ink onto the page.
  • Inkjet cartridges recycling involve separating metal components and shredding plastics to create new materials.

Toner cartridges

  • Contain magnetically-charged polyester-based powder.
  • Powder-based ink is fused to laser paper to print.
  • Toner recycling often involves the re-use of old toner cartridges and their parts.

How do I recycle?

  • Look for a Local Office Supply Store

Quite a number of office supply retailers (or even the store where you bought your printer/ink from) will be more than happy to retrieve your used or consumed ink cartridges.  You can always check online in their website or give them a call beforehand to check if they do this sort of service.


  • Google Maps to your nearest Recycling Centre

Surprisingly, there are quite a few recycling centres around. If you’re a frequent recycler, you would have no trouble finding one. These recycling centres don’t usually focus only on the usual recyclable materials such as papers and metals cans, they would be glad to also receive your printer cartridges for recycling. It is a good idea to gather these goods altogether in bulk and sent them to these recycling centres once in a while. There may also be some online platform who could assist you in locating these centres.


  • Check if your Printer Brand Manufacturer Initiates any Recycling Programs?

Some manufacturer brands have cartridge recycling programs where you can bring printer cartridges to participating office supply stores or ship them free of charge. The cartridges are part of a closed-loop recycling program. Some also has a recycling program that allows participants to drop off cartridges at certain designated locations.


  • Consider Re-Using your Ink Cartridges by Refilling

If you own an original brand ink cartridge that you have used just finished consuming, there is quite a good chance that you can refill and reuse that cartridge with the correct ink refill kit.  Most refill kits include the refilling instructions to guide you. However, do take note that ink cartridges can only be refilled a couple of times max.  Eventually, your prints will start to degrade in quality.


Is Recycling Free?

Yes! Most companies/centres will take away your used cartridges for free. However, they sometime demand you to have a minimum number of cartridge before they offer to collect them.


Can I Donate my Ink Cartridges to Recycle for Charity?

Yes! Some companies or organization are willing to make special donation to for some specified good cause for each cartridge that you recycle with them. Save the Earth and perform charity at the same time. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.


Which is Better? Recycling or Refilling my Ink Cartridges?

Reusing ink cartridges by refilling them results in lower waste in general, but these ink cartridges can only be refilled a couple of times. Some claim that it is cheaper to refill printer cartridges than to buy new ones each time because they are refilled to the top, unlike some new ink cartridges. You can also buy compatible ink cartridges if your original cartridge can no longer be refilled. If you do refill your cartridges, you can still recycle them at the end of its life.


When should I Recycle my Printer Cartridges?

Toner cartridges can’t be re-used indefinitely and are usually good for a few uses (two to three). If you have an inkjet printer, a god tip is to prevent letting the cartridge run out of ink completely before refilling it. Once the inkjet sponges become dried out, they cannot be refilled. Generally, you can then recycle your printer cartridges after a few refills when you start to feel the quality degrade.


Why Do I have to Recycle?

Some may ask, why do I even bother to recycle my ink cartridges? Why can’t I just discard them into my trash can and let them handle it? To answer that, it is very difficult to separate the trash from the recyclable materials to begin with, so it does help when we split them up. Next, if we don’t practice recycling cartridges, these materials will all be thrown into landfills. As we know, landfills take up space and there may no longer be sufficient space to dispose off these materials. The rate of which it decomposes is too slow, we would all build houses surrounded by landfills if we don’t take initiatives to reduce these garbage volumes in landfills. For a better earth, choosing to print already contributes to using more paper but it is unavoidable at times. Hence, we should play a part as well in recycling to mitigate the impact onto our environment. We should think twice before printing, but never think twice on recycling.

We certainly hope some of these information is useful if you are looking for clarity on recycling printer cartridges. As always, happy printing.

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