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Where To Look For Dependable Remanufactured Ink Cartridges


Remanufactured ink cartridges have become a growth industry in the last five years, with four inkjet refill franchises nationwide and an increasing number of websites dedicated to providing the home office sector with remanufactured printer ink. In 2009, this market generated over half a billion dollars in revenues in the U.S. There's plenty of room for expansion: Experts estimate that only 5 percent of American ink cartridges are recycled at present.

Retail chain stores are even bigger players in this marketplace, responsible for 62 percent of all refilled inkjet cartridges in 2009. Some printer manufacturers like HP, Epson and Canon have even begun manufacturing printer ink refill kits for consumers who don't mind spilling a little ink themselves.

Why Do Many Consumers Prefer Remanufactured Printer Ink?

Consumers like recycled ink cartridges for several reasons. For one thing, they're considerably less expensive than new ink cartridges, offering savings of as much as 30 percent. For another, they help keep the makers of original equipment manufacturers, or OEM, honest. It's standard practice among printer manufacturers to sell their printers at a loss and to rake in profits peddling ink. Hardware is relatively flat market in terms of revenue growth, but the volume of printed pages continues to escalate every year. Remanufactured printer ink cartridges undercut the OEM monopoly to some extent.

The most important reason to use refurbished cartridges, however, is that they're much more environmentally friendly. Every year over 350 million used printer cartridges are dumped in landfills across the U.S. A printer cartridge can take as long as 1,000 years to decompose. In addition to contributing hugely to greenhouse gas emissions, the breakdown products of printer cartridge decomposition have been linked to higher incidences of chronic lung diseases and cancer.

Where to Buy Refurbished Ink Cartridge Franchises

Cartridge Word, Island Ink-Jet, Rapid Refill Ink and Caboodle Cartridge, the four ink cartridge replacement franchisers, have between 700 and 800 retail locations in the U.S. The biggest markets for cartridge franchises are the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, where businessman Bryan Stokes opened the first Cartridge World in 1997. Stokes had been refilling printer ink cartridges out of his garage for his friends and a growing network of casual clients since 1988. By 2004, Cartridge World had grown to 500 American locations.

Big box retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and Costco, and office supply chains like Staples and CompUSA, have also gotten in on the cartridge recycling action. As more sophisticated refilling equipment is developed and deployed, remanufactured ink cartridges will become even more available through these outlets, much to the delight of consumers who want to save money and do their part for the environment.

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 does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.