How to Recycle Printer Ink Cartridges

How to Recycle Printer Ink Cartridges


When the ink in your printer cartridge runs out, what do you do? Do you just chuck the printer ink cartridge in with the trash, or do you recycle them?

According to statistics, there are hundreds of millions of printer ink cartridges sold every year in Europe and in the United States alone. However, only a bare 5% of those printer ink cartridges ever find their way to a recycling center once they are used up. Where do the rest of these printer ink cartridges go? They go to some landfill, where they sit for years.

Why Recycle Printer Ink Cartridges?

Advocates of the environment have two major reasons why they think printer ink cartridges should be recycled. One is that printer ink cartridges can harm the environment, while the other is that the materials they are made of come from finite sources that need to be conserved.

1. Printer ink cartridges are pollutants. Printer ink cartridges are non-biodegradable materials. When they find their way to a landfill, they do not rot so they just sit there for years. What is bad about that is that the chemicals that printer inks are made of are harmful. Moreover, they can seep through the soil and get mixed in with the ground water. Ground water can find its way to the ocean, or to our drinking water.

2. Printer ink cartridges are made from finite sources. Printer ink cartridges are primarily made from plastic and metal. Plastic is a derivative of petroleum while metals are mined from the earth. Both petroleum and metal ores are finite and there is no knowing when they will be exhausted.

As thus, printer ink cartridges need to be recycled rather than just thrown away. The two main methods of recycling printer ink cartridges are: 1) refilling them when they become empty; and 2) giving or selling them to recycling centers.

Recycling Printer Ink Cartridges by Refilling

One of the simplest ways of recycling printer ink cartridges is by taking them to an ink refilling station to get them refilled, or by buying ink refill kits for some do-it-yourself refilling. If you are not so finicky about the quality of the ink in refill kits (we do need to recognize that inks in refill kits are not the same as original inks), then you can extend the life of your printer ink cartridge by refilling it once or twice. However, this should not be done more than twice because it can damage the printer head.

Giving Printer Ink Cartridges to a Recycling Center

Once your printer ink cartridge cannot be refilled anymore, you can take it to a facility that recycles them. These recycling centers will even pay you for your empty cartridge, unless you specify that the cartridges are your donation to the facility. What these recycling centers will do to your printer ink cartridge is to retrieve the materials and find other uses for these materials.

The idea of recycling printer ink cartridges is not just some fad. It is a serious matter that we need to take seriously. Do your part and recycle your printer ink cartridges.


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This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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