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What To Do With Old Ink Cartridges – 3 Options To Use (And 1 NOT To)

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON July 1, 2023

& FILED IN Home Decluttering 

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Wondering what to do with old ink cartridges? Let’s chat about your options, both for what to do and what NOT to do. Then you can decide what’s the best way to dispose of them – for both you and the environment.

3 Fantastic Things To Do With Old Ink Cartridges - And 1 To NOT Do

Your 3 Options For What To Do With Old Ink Cartridges

#1 – Recycle Old Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridge recycling is the best thing to do with your old ones, but unfortunately it’s not as easy as dropping them in your household recycling bin.

Here are some options that you can use for your old cartridge(s):

  • Your local household waste recycling centre
  • Some supermarkets have a collection box / bin where you can put the cartridges to be recycled
  • Office supply stores often take empty cartridges to be recycled
  • Return to the cartridge manufacturer. A great option if you’re unsure of whether an old ink cartridge / toner cartridge / printer cartridge can be recycled or not, as they often have their own recycling program you can use.

Find what’s available in your area, and what’s the easiest way for you to recycle.

For example, you could grab them before going to do your food shop, if you know that there’s a bin ready and waiting for you to drop them in. You’re there anyway, so it’s really simple.

Can all printer cartridges be recycled?

Almost all cartridges will be able to be recycled. The only real exceptions are when they are really in bad condition / broken, too dried out and dirty – or not yet empty. 

However, if you’re letting ANY cartridges go, it’s best to pop them in the recycling station of your choice and then you can let them decide what’s best. 

You can’t throw the cartridges away – so recycling is the only option.

TIP: Try and recycle your ink cartridges as soon after they’ve been finished as possible, because it stops that leftover ink drying up.

#2 – Sell Old Ink Cartridges

Another option that still involves recycling, is to sell them to somewhere that will ‘refurbish’ them and resell them.

Did you know that you can make some cash back from your old ink cartridges?

Well, you can!

There are places you can sell your old cartridges to and make a little back on your purchase.

Your empties will be looked after well, and reused.

Just do an online search to see what’s available in your area, and you may well make a few pounds in the process.

#3 – Donate Old Ink Cartridges

Yet again another twist on the recycling option! – and for a good cause as well.

Some charities will take your used ink cartridges off your hands because they can sell them themselves to raise money for their cause.

You can also find online resources that will sell your cartridges for you and then donate to charity – making it even easier to do:

1 Thing You Should Never Do With Ink Cartridges

It’s a common question I get asked – Can You Put Old Ink Cartridges In The Bin? – and the answer is a huge NO.

Although tempting to just throw them away in the waste bin, this is really bad for the environment as they are classed as hazardous waste.

Research has shown that cartridges can take up to 1000 years to decompose, plus that ink residue can leak into soil etc.. – so keeping them out of landfill (and your household waste) is more important than ever.

Pile Of Ink Cartridges With White Background

Ways To Reduce Recycling Needs In The Future

However you recycle your old ink cartridges that you currently have, it’s worth thinking ahead.

In the future, there are ways that you can limit how much you use, spend, and need to recycle your cartridges.

It’s always worth taking these ideas into consideration going forward:

Buy cartridges that you can refill yourself.

It’s often not known that you can get printer ink to refill cartridges yourself in the form of a refill kit. This can be a fantastic option for some, so it’s definitely worth considering.

PROS: This can be a really easy way to save a lot of money and stop you having to send your old cartridges back for recycling.

You can also always have some ink in your home so you don’t run out.

CONS: It may take a bit of practise to refill them, and you may make a little mess at first – but hopefully you’ll be a pro before you know it!

Also, the cartridge WILL wear out after time, naturally. It may take a while, but it’s something to be aware of and it’s worth checking if you’re having problems with a cartridge after you’ve refilled it.

Buy Recycled Cartridges

Save money in the future by buying recycled ink cartridges rather than brand new. This gives this part of the industry a boost, a market, and can save you money too. Everyones a winner!

What To Do With Old Ink Cartridges - 3 Options You Need To Try

If you’ve got any old ink cartridges to get rid of, there are some fantastic ideas for what to do with them in this article.

Hope it helps you decide what will work best for you, and that you get rid of them in the best way possible.

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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on OrganiseMyHouse.com (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...