When the ink runs dry… recycle it, baby!

If you have a computer (and let me guess… you have one, since you’re reading this!) you probably have a printer too … but what do you do when the ink runs dry?

Some of us will resort to trying to have cartridges refilled.  Some of us (me included!) will have little success.  So you are either stuck with this bothersome little ink cartridge or a behemoth of a useless toner cartridge.

Each year in the U.S. alone, 350 million of them wind up in the trash (that’s about 8 per second!), they’re buried in landfills and pollute the earth.  They’ll take about 1,000 years to decompose, but did you know that most can be recycled up to six times, yet only 30% are currently being recycled?

Did you also know you can be rewarded for recycling them?  I’ve actually used this as a way of funding the environmental programs at our daughter’s school.  Because budgets are tight, there just aren’t funds to support the programs.

So there are two great solutions that are likely to be sitting in your neighborhood awaiting your arrival.  I’m using “MaxPerks” at OfficeMax.  For every qualifying cartridge, I’m given a $3 credit for my next purchase. Just sign up for the card, drop off up to ten cartridges a week and voila… there’s my budget!  I’ve used it to purchase recycled paper and materials, for information to send home, and prizes for the kids’ participation in our environmental programs (including recycled pencils made from newspaper, recycled paper notebooks, and Terracycle pencil cases made from recycled drink pouches!).

A similar program is also being offered through the “Staples Rewards” program at Staples stores.  They’ll take up to three cartridges a day with the same type of $3 credit.

And if I haven’t mentioned it before, we have a program set up at school for the students to bring in the cartridges for recycling – so not only are we giving everyone an easy way to recycle and help the earth, but they’re helping to support our programs too!

So next time that empty cartridge is mocking you… don’t trash it, recycle it! Ahh… the life of a recycling/PTA mom… but the “Perks” and “Rewards” are abundant!

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"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

There are so many more facets of going green in the modern day, and the definition of the term reaches far beyond simple recycling. But going green isn't just about installing solar panels on your rooftop... it's about all the little choices that make the biggest difference. From food choices, to cleaning your home, to saving money on your monthly utility bills and consumption; the choices are vast.

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4 thoughts on “When the ink runs dry… recycle it, baby!

  1. Thank you for this information. I have several toner cartridges sitting around waiting to take to be recycled. I didn’t know there were reward options so that’s great news.

    I live in a more rural area and don’t have a local Staples or OfficeMax so I have to wait till I’m driving to a larger community. If you find a good online source for recycling or a place to mail old cartridges that would make a great followup article.

    Thank you again!

    Mike Allens last blog post..Pfaltzgraff – Pre-Holiday Clearance Sale with Extra 20% off Coupon Code

  2. Mike – How about Best Buy or Office Depot? Either of those closer? I understand they also accept cartridges. There are some places to recycle cartridges for charity. http://www.recycle4charity.com/store.tpl?rnd=6725&cart=38681F9A-D9DC-471D-B21E-2242A83D524C& This one requires a 10 items minimum before they will offer free shipping though… This site has links directly to Epson, Lexmark and Hewlett-Packard. They will send you free shipping labels if any of your products are those brands. http://www.computerhope.com/disposal.htm#52 Hope this is more help for you!

    gadis – Way to go! Whatever keeps them out of landfills! Refill-away!

  3. Pingback: » 2009!… and 10 simple ways to go green! - Mom Goes Green

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