Below is a guest post by John C. Arkin, a blogger and sales rep for PrintCountry. When he’s not blogging or helping people find the printer ink they need, he’s cheering on the Padres and Chargers.
The numbers of printer ink cartridges that are thrown out each year — each day, actually — is staggering. Rather than concentrate on those numbers, though, it’s better to concentrate on the number of dollars you can make from recycling your old printer ink cartridges. You know what they say about one person’s trash…
The first thing you’ll want to do before you try any of these recycling options is to collect as many empty printer ink cartridges as you can so you can sell them in bulk and get maximum return for them. You don’t have to do all the collecting yourself. Ask your office manager, your friends, your family and your neighbors to save their old cartridges that they were planning to toss out.
What to Do with Old Ink Cartridges
You had to know that you could find empty printer cartridges on eBay. You can find most anything else on there. The market for empty printer ink cartridges on eBay is active, with listings for all major brands and an average selling price per cartridge of $2.50. You can sell (or buy, if you like) cartridges from Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Lexmark and any other brand you can think of.
Getting started on eBay is quick and easy. Once you get used to it, you’ll be able to post your cartridges for sale in no time.
Companies that specialize in recycling these items will pay you for them and they’ll even pick up the shipping and handling. Two of the most well-known businesses that do printer cartridge recycling are ECycle Group and TonerBuyer.
They will give you about $3 for low-end printer cartridges, but up to $22 for the expensive, name-brand cartridges. Complete the form on their websites and they will send you a prepaid UPS shipping label and tell you everything you need to do to ship your cartridges. Once they receive your shipment, you’ll receive a check within a few weeks.
These are legitimate businesses that have contracts with schools and professional organizations so you know they’re trustworthy. Always make sure that a company lists their environmental certifications and ask about their recycling practices.
Get store credit
Some office supply stores, in addition to giving you discounts on cartridge refills, will pay you with store credit for your old ink cartridges. Not as flexible as cash, perhaps, but if you need other office supplies, this is a good way to save money on them.
OfficeMax: You can earn $2 in MaxPerks Rewards for each qualifying cartridge you give them, up to a maximum of $20 in rewards per calendar month per member. Qualifying cartridges include any visibly undamaged ink or toner cartridges, which excludes remanufactured cartridges of any brand.
Office Depot: You can earn 200 Office Depot Rewards points for each ink or toner cartridge you send in to recycle (up to 10 cartridges per month). To get these points, you also must make a $10 qualifying purchase within the same month. All brands of ink and toner cartridges qualify for rewards.
Staples: At Staples, you earn $2 back in rewards for every ink or toner cartridge that you send them. There is a 10-cartridge limit if you have a base account and a 20-cartridge limit if you have a Plus or Premier account. In order to qualify for the rewards, you will have had to spend at least $30 on ink or toner over the previous 180 days at Staples.
If you have old printer ink cartridges just lying around, why not get something for them? Whether it’s cold, hard cash or always-useful store credit, you can easily get something for them instead of just having them sitting around taking up space. Now you’ve got some good ideas for what to do with old ink cartridges!