How to Recycle Ink Cartridges...For Cash

recycle ink cartridgesBy: Lauren Elward Updated: 10/18/2019

Ink cartridge recycling is now available as part of regular recycling in most municipalities. If it's not available in your area, consider using eCycle Group, a recycling program for empty ink cartridges and laser toner. If you have empty cartridges, you can send them to eCycle in exchange for cash, or a donation to the charity of your choice.

eCycle Group manages all aspects of the collection and payment process, so please reach out to them directly with any questions. The process is simple: once you have located your printer cartridges on their list, fill in the number of cartridges you are returning and calculate the amount due. Be sure to fill in your contact information and preferred method of payment.

Recycling your printer ink cartridges makes sense - it's good for the environment because it reduces the amount of plastic put into landfills. And it's good for your wallet by giving you cash back for your empty cartridges. Read the below to learn more about recycling inkjet cartridges.

How to Recycle Empty Ink Cartridges

Each year, millions of empty toner and inkjet cartridges are thrown into the trash, ending up in our planet's landfills or incinerators. Recycling these empty cartridges is easy, profitable and environmentally beneficial. It helps reduce solid waste, conserves raw materials and the energy needed to produce a new product. Most cartridges can be recycled up to six times - they are refurbished, refilled and then resold to consumers at a lower price than brand name cartridges. Recycled cartridges produce the same quality and output as new cartridges.

Ink cartridges are constructed out of plastic, petroleum-based products and take about 1,000 years to decompose. According to recent estimates, 20-40% of ink cartridges are recycled, meaning 60-80% end up in landfills. The recovery and reuse of empty printer cartridges diverts millions of cubic feet of material from waste disposal, saving us the millions of tax dollars needed to pay for additional landfill management.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I recycle my empty inkjet cartridges?

Look at the instructions in the box of your new laser or inkjet cartridge to find out how to recycle your old one. Many companies will provide instructions, packaging materials and free postage if you wish to recycle your old cartridge.

The easiest way to find a recycling location is to search the Internet for organizations that accept used cartridges in exchange for cash. All sites offer pre-paid free shipping or pickup of used cartridges, and some pay up to $4 per cartridge.

Recycling used cartridges also makes a great fundraiser for schools, church groups, charities, high school sports teams and other non-profit organizations. It can also be a significant cost savings for businesses.

Some of the following recycling sites will give you the option to either take cash for your empty cartridges, or you can donate the proceeds to a charity of your choice.

Each recycling site has a list of printer cartridges that they will accept. Be sure to check that list before sending in your empty cartridges, because each organization will only pay for cartridges that they can accept - some even charge a penalty for cartridges that are not accepted. Some of the above recycling groups also offer new, recycled content and recyclable business and consumer products available at deeply discounted prices for school, office or personal use.

Start recycling your used ink cartridges today! Whether you opt to receive cash back or donate the proceeds to charity, it is the responsibility of everyone to do all we can today in order to insure the health of our planet tomorrow.

 


What recycling programs do printer manufacturer's have in place?

Several inkjet printer manufacturers also maintain recycling programs. However, your recycled ink cartridge doesn't always make it around the loop.

 


What is Epson's ink cartridge recycling program?

Epson, in cooperation with Funding Factory, recently launched a free recycling program for its customers. Schools and businesses can get points for collecting and remitting empty cartridges to Epson. However, the cartridges are not remanufactured or refilled. They are incinerated. To be fair, mention must be made that the incineration is at an environmentally friendly waste-to-energy plant; however, it's easy to see that Epson is the big winner in this recycling effort. Their recycling plan takes cartridges out of the hands of remanufacturing plants that can offer less expensive remanufactured compatible cartridges to the consumer.


Hewlett Packard also has a free recycling program and they proudly announce that more than 1.8 million HP inkjet cartridges were recycled in 2003. Unfortunately, for the consumer, plastics and metal from the HP cartridges are also disassembled and made into new products. Other components are used to generate energy or are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.


Does Canon have an ink cartridge recycling program?

Canon offers its customers several options for recycling toner cartridges, including a single return option, an up-to-eight multiple return option, and a bulk return option. Whichever you choose, a shipping label can be downloaded directly from their website. Return shipping via UPS is pre-paid by the company. It appears from many recycling and other eco-friendly programs displayed on their website, that Canon is a leader in environmental stewardship, however to date they have no recycling program in place for inkjet cartridges.


Does Lexmark have an ink cartridge recycling program?

Lexmark's recycling program is 100% free, as are the other printer manufacturer recycling programs. Customers request a kit using an online order form. Lexmark pays the postage both ways. However, there is one major difference between Lexmark's program and the programs of the other print giants. Lexmark works with Planet Ark and Close the Loop in Australia to ensure every collected cartridge is remanufactured or recycled. In addition, they have similar recycling programs in Latin American and South Africa. In Europe, every purchase of a Lexmark high-volume cartridge comes with a postage-paid recycling bag included. Now that’s closing the circle!


Do other big box retailers like Staples and Best Buy have ink recycling programs

Yes, both Best Buy and Staples offer their own ink cartridge recycling programs. To learn more, click on the links below.