Anyone who uses a printer very much, knows it doesn't take long to empty out an ink cartridge. Wait, don't toss that empty ink jet cartridge out just yet. There are many ways to recycle these little plastic boxes, some which even pay or even better, benefit organizations.  However,  the best benefit of all is that recycling ink cartridges will help save the environment from being filled with unnecessary plastic.

Recycled Ink Cartridges


Most major office supply stores, like Staples and Office Depot,  offer in store credit for used ink cartridges on a new one. This is usually about $3 to $5. Check each store for details on brands and makes accepted. I suggest calling ahead of time before making a trip.  With growing fuel prices and environment issues, it doesn't make sense to waste trying to save.

Call your local schools and non profit organizations. Many schools and groups will collect these as fundraisers. It can actually be a very profitable way to raise money for a school or organization since there really isn't nothing to do but collect the cartridges and ship them in exchange for a check.  This can be great for kids since there are no catalogs or money to keep up with.

Another option for some ink cartridges is to refill them yourself with kits. If you are unable to perform this task yourself, or just can't be bothered certain stores and shops will offer this service. For example the Walgreen's here refills them for about $10.

If recycling several ink cartridges,  you might want to check into recycling them youself for cash. There are online sites that offer this service for individuals.  Some will pay around $4 each for what they consider to be virgin cartridges. Of course these are the most desirable because they are ink cartridges that have never been refilled or recycled. Usually the name brand inks, such as Cannon and HP will be the most desirable. The lower price, generic ones are usually refilled ones. Although they won't bring as much as the others, they are still worth something.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some places will only refill or recycle certain brands and makes of cartridges. Do your homework on this before sending them in. It is unlikely that you will get paid or get your catridges back if the company does not accept that type.
  • From my experience, I do not get as much use out of a refilled cartridge. However,it is much cheaper. You will have to outweight the benefits for yourself.