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Why Recycle Ink Jets

Read the following article and find out why!

How often have you heard that a product you use can be recycled which will benefit the environment; only to find that a major hassle is required by YOU to recycle the product. How often have you tried to purchase recycled products and discouragingly found that the price of the product is significantly more expensive! Things have changed. Read on to find a win -- win situation with recycling.

A new environmentally friendly process is emerging in the recycling arena: recycling ink jet printer cartridges. The odds are that you use one. The United States has a multi-billion dollar ink jet market, and 92% of the ink jet cartridges (a million of them every day) are tossed into landfills: 5,000 tons every month.

One million ink jet cartridges are thrown away every day!

Ink Jet printers are everywhere: 5 out of 10 households now have an ink jet printer; printers in industry; fax machines; MFPs (Multi-Function Printers offering print, scan, fax and copy capability in one machine). In addition ink jets are used in apparel manufacturing, plotters for engineering, graphic designers, architecture, as well as applications for wide format printers. Retailers now offer computers with ink jet printers for just a few hundred dollars. Consumers are now processing their photographs at home using ink jet printers. Canon, Epson, Hewlett Packard and the other printer manufacturers retail these printers for less than $150; AND THIS INK JET MARKET IS PROJECTED TO TRIPLE IN THE NEXT 2 to 3 YEARS. By the year 2002 two out of three printers sold will be ink jet. Ink Jet cartridge recycling can eliminate thousands of tons of unnecessary waste. Ink Jet cartridge recycling is more environmentally friendly than most recycling processes. The cartridges are reused - multiple times - rather than melted down and recycled into a new product. This opportunity is available now and for years to come. The primary challenge is making people aware of this service.

Canon BC-02 - HP 51626A - HP 51645A -HP 51629A are perfect candidates for recycling


• How are Ink Jet cartridges Recycled?

Ink Jet, Bubble Jet, Desk Jet, Fax Jet Cartridges are cleaned inside and out using three methods: ultrasonic, steam, and solvents. They are then filled with the specified ink, pressurized, machine tested, taped, hermetically sealed and packaged and returned to the owner.

• Why haven't I heard about Ink Jet cartridge recycling before?

Most Americans throw their cartridges away because they've never thought about recycling them and are unaware cartridge recycling services exist. New machines and jobs have been developed to recycle these cartridges.  Recycling cartridges presents a new opportunity, offering a number of economic and social benefits.

• Can my ink jet cartridges be recycled?

If it's black or a single color, 93% of the time the answer is YES! Ink jet cartridges best suited for recycling are those from: Apple, Canon, Epson, Hewlett Packard and other manufacturers. Selected Tri-Color cartridges can also be recycled.

• How many times can an ink jet cartridge be recycled?

The number of times a cartridge can be recycled varies among the types of cartridges. It's common for users to recycle one cartridge 10 times or more.  A cartridge refilled just three times is a 75% reduction in waste. The cartridge is fragile and can be damaged if not handled properly.  Four factors that can prolong the life of a cartridge are controlled by the user:

1) The electrical contacts on the back of the cartridge should be protected and never touched.

2) Be aware that any damage to the print head (bottom of cartridge) will ruin the cartridge.

3) Place the protective tape from the new cartridge on to the used cartridge head when it is empty and replaced. This helps protect the nozzles and the print head.  Replace the used cartridge in the original box for further protection.

4) Select the recycling service with a proven track record. One that provides the proper ink for that specific cartridge, offers the top of the line process and institutes the highest quality assurance.

Note: Some cartridges have exceeded their life. 3% to 20% of cartridges received for recycling have reached the end of their use and reuse. These cartridges are ready for the plastic recycling factory.

• How does this ink jet cartridge recycling work?

Rather than tossing your cartridges into the trash, simply place the cartridge into a "Used Inkjet" box.  When the box is filled, they are mailed to the cartridge recycling company.  Some organizations can send the cartridges in; others can use their internal mail system in the distribution process, then send them in a batch.  The cartridges are recycled to a like new condition, sealed in a poly-bag boxed like new and returned to you the customer.

• What's the Ink jet cartridge Recycling Potential?

Today less than 5% of the ink jet cartridges are recycled compared to 30% of the laser cartridges.

Some organizations have mandated recycled laser cartridges be used in their operations. Bringing ink jet cartridge recycling up to the same 30% level as laser cartridges can attain the following results:

US Printer Ink Jet Usage @ 30 % Recycled (Tons Waste)

Market Mkt #IJ (000) $ Sav(000) Reduction # Jobs
USA 109,5000 1,862,000 16,400 9,125


13,260 225,428 2,000 1,105
Chicago 5,495 93,410 800 458
Dallas 2,641 44,895 400 220
Miami 2,005 34,092 300 167
New York 8,585 145,942 1,300 715

Legend: Market - Specific market area

Mkt # IJ - (000) 30% of number of Ink Jet Cartridges sold each year for this market area.

$ Sav - (000) Savings assuming 30% market usage & selling the recycled cartridge back to the original user for 50% of the price of a new cartridge.

Tons of Waste Reduction - Assuming each cartridge is only recycled only once. Cartridges can actually be recycled 10 times and more. Thus, each of these amounts can be increased significantly.

# Jobs Created - New jobs in administration, marketing, distribution, operations & customer service.

What company can I use to recycle my ink jet cartridges?

Use caution in selecting your ink jet cartridge recycling company. The company should be vested in the latest technology and highest quality of ink to satisfy your high standards. A "like new" recycled product is what you should expect. Quality customer service, support and administrative personnel are required to handle high volume, special requirements and distribution method best suited to your needs. You should also ask for the results of your recycling efforts; "How much money have you saved?" and "How much toxic waste have you eliminated?" These are the results you can demand from the company recycling your ink jet cartridges.


Like other areas of recycling, reusing one ink jet cartridge is not a big step but it is the right step -- and one that everyone can take. Consider the impact of everyone collectively recycling cartridges: the savings to society can be significant. Place the cartridges in the Used Inkjet box rather than in the trash can.

Recycling cartridges is green all around. The cost is less than the price of a new cartridge, toxic waste is eliminated, and in some cases jobs are created for socially dependent people. It is a new win-win process.

• MOST IMPORTANT do not throw your cartridges away. Send them to the ink jet recycling company even if you don’t use the recycling service. � 1999-2003 By Errol Rowland 

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