Printer cartridges are the replaceable components of your inkjet or laser printer that contains the ink or toner that is spread on paper during printing. You need to replace them with brand new cartridges when they become empty. Ordering brand new cartridges and throwing the empty ones in the trash can be the easiest thing to do but can be the most environmentally damaging action. The plastic casing will just stay in landfills for decades and the toxic chemicals from the ink or toner will leech out in the soil and underground water. Fortunately, there are eco-friendly ways of disposing your spent printer cartridges.
Donate Empty Cartridges for Charity
Donating your empty printer cartridges to charitable organizations is an eco-friendly way of supporting a good cause. There are organizations and websites out there that are willing to collect your cartridges in exchange for cash that will be directly forwarded to your chosen charity.
Recycle4charity.com is an example of website that receives used printer laser toner and inkjet cartridges for charity. This non-profit organization support outstanding charitable institutions such as Helen Keller Worldwide, Child Fund International, United Way, The Smile Train, and Habitat for Humanity International. Visit their website to learn how to send your cartridges to them.
There are other websites similar to Recycle4charity.com, just google them. You can also check with your local stores, schools, and charitable organizations to find out if they have their own cartridge recycling program.
Cartridge Recycling for Cash
It is true that there is cash from trash. You can exchange your empty ink or toner cartridges into extra cash. There are many recycling services that will pay you to send them your empties such as FreeRecycling.com and eCycle.com. These companies offer free local pickup and free shipping boxes. They offer competitive pricing but may require minimum units to be disposed from you.
Cartridge Recycling for Rebates
There are cartridge retailers or manufacturers that instead of paying you with cash, they give you attractive rebates on your next order of ink or toner cartridge. These manufacturers will recycle your empty cartridges to make new cartridges.
The amount of rebates that they will offer to you depends on the model and condition of your cartridges. Ink and toner cartridges for high-end laser printers are expensive so you would expect higher rebates if you return them to manufacturers.
Workplace Recycling Program
If your workplace is printing a lot of documents, it is more likely that you are using and disposing a lot of cartridges. Instead of putting these cartridges to garbage bags and throwing them away, recycle them for charity, cash, or rebates. Coordinate with your superiors and fellow employees to start a cartridge recycling program. This kind of program could save an enormous amount of waste every year.
Although cartridge recycling requires a little extra effort and small time investment from you, it is an outstanding way of helping the environment and saving cash.
Raymund Camat blogs about recycling of cartridges for Brother toners and Samsung toners. He works for TonerBoss.com, an online retailer of compatible printer cartridges and printer supplies that receives empty cartridges in exchange for rebates.