Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 54° Partly Cloudy
News >  Features

It can pay to recycle ink, toner cartridges

Recycling or remanufacturing ink and toner cartridges is becoming a big business.
Recycling or remanufacturing ink and toner cartridges is becoming a big business.
Terri Bennett McClatchy

Did you know that Americans use hundreds of millions of ink and toner cartridges for printers every year? And estimates are that 70 percent of those are being sent straight to landfills.

This is enormously wasteful and unnecessary. These predominantly plastic containers filled with ink are easily refilled or recycled. In fact, there are now a number of places that will actually pay you to recycle your used ink and toner cartridges.

Most cartridges are made of plastic, a byproduct of oil, but recycling them often involves little more than taking them apart, replacing any damaged parts, refilling and testing them.

It is cheaper for manufacturers to refurbish these parts rather than pay for a new one. This creates savings for them that are passed on to you and me, the consumers.

Today, recycling or remanufacturing ink and toner cartridges is becoming a big business. So much so, many companies are paying anywhere from a few cents up to $20 or more for your used cartridges.

At you will find a number of online sources that will pay for used cartridges. They’ll even provide a prepaid shipping label. This is a great fundraising opportunity for small groups or schools and includes an eco-friendly lesson about recycling.

If you would rather trade in your cartridges and toners in person, Office Max, Staples and Office Depot will give you the equivalent of a $3 store credit for every accepted cartridge you recycle. You must belong to the retailers’ rewards program to earn cash and there are limits to how many and how often you can bring in cartridges for money.

For the consumer looking to buy ink or toner cartridges, going with refilled or recycled cartridges costs 30 to 70 percent less than new. You will want to buy from a reputable retailer to ensure a quality product and you’ll also want to make sure that using recycled cartridges won’t affect the warranty on your printer.

I recently discovered an online source that not only offers a warranty and free standard U.S. shipping, they also make a donation of $2 to $5 to help save homeless pets for every cartridge purchased. You can learn more at

Throwing used printer cartridges in the trash is almost like throwing money out the window. Refilling and recycling these items is another way to do your part to reduce your eco-footprint and save some green in your wallet.

Terri Bennett is an Earth scientist, syndicated columnist and mom. Get more everyday green living tips at
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

New health insurance plans available November 1 through Washington Healthplanfinder

 (Photo courtesy WAHBE)

Fall means the onset of the cold and flu season.