If you have a printer, you know that ink isn’t cheap. New inkjet cartridges can range from $10 to $40 each, depending on the make and model of your printer. Of course, the number of printed pages you’ll get from those cartridges varies widely. Manufacturers keep the upfront price of their printers low, often under $100, and make most of their profits from selling inkjet cartridges. Although this can be frustrating, these printers have provided low-maintenance, high-quality printing for small businesses and in-home use.
Generally, users who print more pages per month have leaned toward laser printers which use toner cartridges. Toner cartridges alone can cost well over $100 but produce many times the number of printed pages as an inkjet cartridge.
As disposable products, both laser toner and inkjet cartridges are not ideal from an environmental perspective. However, both are easy to recycle through printer manufacturers, office supply stores, or cartridge remanufacturers, many of which buy empties from organizations and businesses.
Consumers now have a third option which results in far less waste. Both Epson and Canon make inkjet printers that utilize refillable ink reservoirs. Canon markets this feature as “Mega Tank,” while Epson’s goes by “Eco Tank.” While these printers sell for $300–$500, a $12 bottle of ink can replace about 30 inkjet cartridges. Consumer Reports states that these models “offer a much better return on investment than regular inkjet printers. The typical user (roughly 35 pages per month) starts saving money after about two years of use — and after two-and-a-half years, they’re cheaper to own and operate than every printer in our ratings.”
But for now, most of us still have printers that use traditional cartridges. Are you recycling your cartridges? If not, start recycling them now!
— You can recycle cartridges with the manufacturer. Information on how to recycle is typically included with the new cartridge and is also available online.
— Office supply stores accept cartridges for recycling. Many of these stores give you a credit (or rewards dollars) for your empty cartridges.
— Many organizations recycle cartridges as a fundraiser. Check with organizations that you and your family like to support to see whether they currently accept cartridges for recycling.
— Cartridge remanufacturers will accept your used cartridges. Once collected, some cartridges will be cleaned, inspected, refilled, and resold. Other cartridges are used for parts. The remainder are recycled or disposed.
— Consider buying remanufactured cartridges when you purchase new ink or toner. You will save money on ink and toner and support a closed-loop recycling system!
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