Tips For Recycling Ink Cartridges

by : John Snyder

Why should you recycle ink cartridges? Well, there are many reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, it keeps them away from the landfills. Even though they are small, there are so many of them bought and thrown away every year that it does make a noticeable difference. For example, every year roughly 400 million ink jet cartridges are bought in the United States. Only a small portion of them, less than 25%, are recycled. That means that 300 million cartridges are thrown away every year, which adds about 60 million pounds of garbage to our landfills.

Since inkjet cartridges are made out of plastic they take hundreds of years to break down. If your community has curb side plastic recycling, then at the very least place your empty printer cartridges into the recycling bin.

That said, sometimes going the extra mile to recycle your lone ink cartridge just doesn't seem like a big deal. That is why there are now many incentives and ways to recycle that make it very easy. Most cartridge manufacturers, such as Hewlett-Packard, Canon, and Dell all offer free cartridge recycling programs. The postage is pre-paid, so you don't have to pay anything extra, and the shipping materials are either included in the new cartridge box or can be requested from their respective websites. All you need to do is put the cartridge, or cartridges, if you have several, in the free shipping box or envelope, print the label, and drop it off at your mailbox or with a courier service. Pretty easy, right?

That is not the only way to recycle, however, and many third-party companies now allow you to drop off your used cartridges. Office supply chains, such as Staples or Office Depot not only allow you drop off any empty ink cartridges at their stores, they will also offer incentives for you to do so. Stapes, for example, will give you $3 coupon for every HP, Lexmark, or Dell cartridge you recycle that you can use to get a discount on future cartridge purchases. Office Depot has a similar program for certain eligible brands and will also offer you $3 coupon to use for any purchase.

Another great way to recycle is by donating the proceeds to a charity or a cause. Staples, for example, has a program called Recycle for Education where they donate $3 to local schools for every recycled cartridge. There are also numerous organizations, such as Recycle 4 Charity that will accept empty cartridges and donate the proceeds to a charity. Recycle 4 Charity will donate the proceeds to a charity you choose from the list of charities they are in partnership with. If you are in UK, Homeless International is a great place to help the homeless in Asia, Africa, and Latin America by donating your used cartridges. There are numerous other organizations that have similar programs and you won't have any problems finding one that benefits the cause you wish to help.

Whichever road you choose, it's now easy and painless to recycle your ink cartridges and not only keep them out of landfills, but also get discounts or donate to a worthy charity.