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Eco Friendly Ways to Re-use Your Old Printer and Toner Cartridges

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 1 Nov 2013 | comments*Discuss
Toner Ink Cartridges Printer Refilling

Around 44 million laser jet printer cartridges are sold in Europe each year and a staggering 73% of them are only used once. The stats for laser jet printers are no better. This is both a waste of resources and money.

There are plenty of ways to avoid sending old cartridges to landfill and to get as much use out of them as possible.

Reasons to Re-Use Ink and Toner Cartridges

These are just a few of the advantages of re-using and recycling your printer and toner cartridges:

  • Re-using and recycling cartridges uses less energy and resources. It takes around 2 litres of oil to make just one typical laser printer cartridge. This goes to show that every cartridge saved makes a big difference.

  • Oil is a non-renewable material and re-using and recycling cartridges conserves oil.

  • Printer cartridges also use aluminium and steel and these resources are also preserved when cartridges are re-used.

  • Re-using and recycling cartridges keeps them out of landfill. Every year millions of tonnes of non-biodegradable printer and toner cartridges are dumped in UK landfills. These take up space in ever-shrinking landfill sites and can release toxins and gases into the air, soil and water. A cartridge can take decades to decompose in landfill.

One way to get the most use out of your printer cartridges is to refill them. You can buy printer refills from computer hardware shops and online. Refilling your printer cartridges is far more economical than buying new ones.

It’s important that you make absolutely sure that you have bought the correct refill product or your printer could be damaged. Stockists of refill ink will be happy to advise on this.

It should be noted that cartridges can only be refilled a limited number of times before they need to be replaced. The average is three times.

Professional refilling
It’s not hard once you know how but it’s true that refilling cartridges can be a little bit tricky. For those that don’t fancy doing it themselves there is the alternative of having empty cartridges collected by a professional company. This is not as cheap as refilling cartridges yourself but for some it’s more convenient.

Many charities provide this service and will drop off boxes at offices, which when full of cartridges they will collect and replace.

Often the same companies who collect cartridges for refilling will also collect ones which can’t be refilled. They will often pay a fee for every cartridge recycled and they will ensure that the cartridges are either remanufactured or recycled safely and kept out of landfill.

Purchasing New Cartridges: Buy Green

When you do need to buy a new cartridge, the greenest choice is to buy remanufactured cartridges. These cartridges are less expensive than brand new ones and they come with a guarantee to work as well as new cartridges.

Make Cartridges Last: Use Less Ink

There are a number of simple steps you can take which will make your cartridges last longer:

  • Use draft quality where possible. If you’re just printing something for yourself or internal distribution, draft quality is usually fine and saves a lot of ink.
  • Print in black and white rather than colour wherever possible. This uses a lot less ink and colour ink is considerably more expensive.
  • If you are printing a lot, consider whether printing two sides to a sheet in a landscape format would work.
  • It can be more economical to print photos as a professional printing shop.
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    Remanufacturcartridges more cost-effective, they are also more environmentally friendly. A Great alternative that can help minimise your printing costs. Totally agree with you.
    Duel - 1-Nov-13 @ 3:33 PM
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