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How To Buy An Eco-Friendly Printer Ink Cartridge

2012-04-03

The replaceable reservoir that contains the ink used by inkjet printers is called a printer ink cartridge. Although most users don't think of a printer ink cartridge as an environmental menace, in fact it is. Every year nearly 400 million used printer cartridges are dumped in landfills around the world. Each of these cartridges represents about 3.5 pounds of solid waste that will take a thousand years to decompose. Additionally, the manufacture of cartridges is a source of greenhouse gas emissions with an estimated 4.8 kilograms of CO2 produced for every cartridge that's manufactured. Using a recycled, environmentally friendly cartridge is not only a way for printer users to save money, it also benefits the planet.

Where are the best places to buy an eco-friendly printer cartridge?

Brand Name Printer Manufacturers

The aftermarket in refilled printer cartridges has produced a fierce competition between brand name printer and printer supply manufacturers and companies that specialize in refilling and reselling recycled printer ink cartridges. Many brand name manufacturers do buy back their own used printer cartridges so they can be refilled and used again.

Information about these programs can be found on the manufacturers' website. Consumers can also check the packaging their original printer cartridge came in to see if the company maintains a buy-back program.

Use a Third-Party Vendor

In the past decade, many smaller businesses have sprung up that specialize in buying recycled printer cartridges, refurbishing them, refilling them and selling them at discounted prices. Some of these businesses are chains with outlets in major malls and downtown areas, while others operate only on the Internet.

Not every printer cartridge can be recycled this way, however. Printer cartridges that contain printhead components generally cannot be refilled. This does not mean that they should not be recycled, of course. The plastic that was used to make the cartridge can be reused to make something else. Printer cartridges designed to work with piezoelectric technology are also difficult to refill although their OEM manufacturers have developed workarounds for these difficulties.

When searching for a third-party vendor to buy an environmentally friendly cartridge from, always remember to perform due diligence. Look on the website for information about the vendor's refurbishing and quality assurance processes.

Buy Environmentally Friendly Inks

Conventional printer inks contain petroleum oil as well as many other chemicals that are toxic to the environment. In recent years, manufacturers have been experimenting with inks formulated from natural oils derived from plant products like soy. Soy ink eliminates harmful volatile organic compound emissions and is a renewable source of these oils. There are quality issues, however, since soy-based inks take a longer time to dry.

Logos and brand names of manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Samsung, Apple, Brother, Dell, IBM and others are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All references to brands are solely made for the purpose of illustrating compatibility of toner and ink cartridges. Their use on PrinterInk.com does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.