Like most businesses, online discount ink cartridges stores are stepping up to the plate and doing their part to preserve the environment. By recycling ink cartridges, manufacturers and retailers are preventing unwanted plastics, metals and hazardous materials from entering our landfills in mass quantity.

If that's not enough to get you to recycle your ink cartridges, check out these environmental statistics:

  • Three pounds of raw materials and nearly four ounces of oil are saved every time a cartridge is recycled.
  • The standard empty ink cartridge can be recycled anywhere from four to seven times.
  • Recycled ink cartridges are just as good as new ones and less expensive.
  • Recycling your inkjet or laser toner cartridges is easy to do.

It is important to check with your printer manufacturer or online discount ink cartridge store before sending your empty cartridge back. Not all brands or types of ink cartridges can be recycled, and a few recycling companies will charge you for returned ink cartridges that do not meet their criteria. Certain Epson and Canon cartridges have ink tanks, making them ineligible for recycling. Ribbon cartridges also are not reusable. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges, however, are widely acceptable in most recycling programs.

Once you know that your brand of ink cartridge can be recycled, there are certain guidelines that must be followed to be sure it will be accepted. The rules for return will vary, depending on the type of cartridge.

Directions for recycling your ink cartridge can be found on the outside of the new printer cartridge box. Typically, ink cartridges must be in good condition, sealed in a zip-lock bag and, when possible, sent in the original packaging. Sites such as Carrot Ink and Ink Sell will supply instructions, free packaging and postage for returning your empty cartridges.

If you are returning an inkjet cartridge check to see that:

  • The case is not damaged or cracked
  • The contact area is securely affixed to the cartridge case
  • The flex tape is intact and also securely affixed to the cartridge case
  • The nozzle plate is free of holes and not damaged

In the case of laser toner cartridges you must be sure that:

  • The casing is not cracked and it has all its parts, including the original screws and clips
  • All shutters, sensor tabs and pins are securely in place
  • No cartridge pieces are missing

Many retail and office supply stores feature in-house ink cartridge recycling programs that offer cash back or store credit for returned cartridges. Local and online recycling companies also take used cartridges. Businesses that regularly recycle their cartridges may qualify for free pickup.

These are just some of the things to keep in mind when you're considering recycling your ink cartridges. This information will help you determine whether recycling is right for you.

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