Inkjets Blog How to recycle ink cartridges?

Article last updated March 7, 2023

Did you know that there are over 375 million ink cartridges that get dumped in landfills all over the world, every single year? 375 million in one year. That is more than 1 million ink cartridges dumped in landfills every day. Or about 11 ink cartridges disposed of every second of the day.

Wow, right? Especially when a large part of that waste is completely unnecessary. Why? Because printer ink cartridges are designed and made to be reused or recycled. So before you throw away that ink cartridge, our blog post this week provides you with tips on how to recycle ink cartridges and help save the environment.


Recycling Ink Cartridges - Why Do It?

Like we said, there are more than 300 million ink cartridges that get thrown away and dumped in landfills every year. But recycling ink cartridges IS possible. And while a lot of people and companies are already using (or selling) recycled cartridges, we can still do better.


empty ink cartridges in a recycling box

So why should you recycle your printer ink cartridges? Here are three good reasons:


1. It is economical

Recycling has a lot of benefits that are not limited to the environment. It has a lot of economic advantages, too. It is actually six times more affordable to dispose of recycled waste than the usual trash. This saves the government money, allowing them to allot funds on social services that need it more.


2. You have less waste

If you use tri-color ink cartridges, when one color runs out, this does not mean that all have run out. But despite running out of just one color, you would have to replace the whole cartridge. What happens to the other colors, then?

By recycling ink cartridges, you put the remaining ink to good use. Or, if you really cannot use the remaining ink, the cartridge would at least be disposed of properly.


3. You help the environment

We have shared just how many ink cartridges end up in landfills every year all over the world. Here’s another fact: ink cartridges take 500 to 1,000 years to decompose. Recycling cartridges can help reduce water and air pollution as well as save energy.



How To Recycle Ink Cartridges Correctly

Recycling empty ink cartridges is easy, profitable (yes, you can get cash for them) and most importantly, environmentally friendly. You need to be sure though, that you are doing it correctly. If you are recycling your ink cartridges for the first time, here are a few helpful tips:


1. Take empty cartridges and toners to your local recycling center

Once you have collected your empty ink cartridges, or even small electronics that you want to dispose of, you can then take them to your local recycling facility. Websites like help you locate recycling centers nearest to you. You just need to type in your zip code and you can download a list of facilities.

man putting empty ink toners in a box

Alternatively, you can drop off empty ink cartridges and toners in office supply stores like Staples or Office Depot. Try to avoid shipping the empty cartridges back to stores you bought it from to recycle. It is better for the environment to take the ink cartridges to local recycling facilities because you further reduce your carbon footprint.


2. Look into programs that give money back in exchange for empty ink cartridges

An example of these programs is Cartridge for Kids that work with business owners, churches, schools, and other nonprofit organizations all over the country. The idea is simple: you get money back in exchange for your empty ink cartridges or toner.

close up photo of empty ink cartridges

The amount you receive depends on a number of factors: Is the cartridge an OEM, an original manufacturer cartridge? What type of cartridge is it? Is the cartridge virgin ((empty inkjet and toner cartridges that have not been refilled before) or non-virgin (empty inkjet and toner cartridges that have been refilled previously)? Go online and search for recycle lists so you would have an idea how much your empty cartridges are worth.


3. Make sure your ink cartridges are in good condition

In order for ink cartridges to be recycled, you need to be sure they are in good condition when you hand them over to the recycling center. The reason is simple. Ink cartridges are expensive and hard to make. Refilling the empty cartridges with high quality ink is easy.

ink cartridge with recycle symbol

So, before you take your empty cartridges to the recycling center, wrap them individually so they are protected from damage while in transit. You can use old newspapers or some bubble wrap for cushioning.

Another option - especially if you have OEM cartridges that you have used once - is to refill them yourself with a cartridge refill kit. There is less waste, and you do not even have to make that trip to the recycling center. Cartridge refill kits come with a syringe, gloves, screw, a bottle of ink - and you are good to go.

person refilling an empty ink cartridge

Do remember though, that you can only refill your cartridge a few times. Eventually, it will wear out after you have used it repeatedly. When that happens, it is time for a replacement.

And if you want to take the next step towards being more environmentally friendly with your printer ink consumption, there is another option available - buy remanufactured ink cartridges or toner.



How Do Remanufactured Ink Cartridges Or Toner Help The Environment?

A remanufactured ink cartridge or toner is a brand name cartridge that has been professionally and thoroughly cleaned, refilled with similar brand quality ink, and tested to be sure that you will get the same quality of prints as the original cartridge or toner.

person remanufacturing printer ink toner

By choosing remanufactured toner and ink cartridges, you help reduce the amount of waste that gets dumped into landfills. It also cysts down on the resources required to make new cartridges. Most importantly, remanufactured ink cartridges cost less than brand new ones. You save money while you actively support environmental efforts.



We Only Have One Planet, Let’s Do Our Part To Protect It

close up image of a small plant

There you have it - simple, easy ways you can recycle your empty ink cartridges. Find the option that is easiest and most convenient for you, and start taking care of the environment. Or choose the eco-friendly way to get high-quality prints and use remanufactured ink cartridges and toner.

Doing what you can to save the environment is always a great decision. At InkJets, we have been helping customers save on printing costs and doing our part to save the planet by providing high quality remanufactured ink. So contact our team today!