Although the Internet’s increased accessibility has allowed people to share information more easily through mobile devices, printers are still an indispensible tool in business, education and other fields. Unfortunately, the cartridges printers use are also “indispensible”, but certainly not in a good way.
Ink cartridges that are thrown in garbage bins with the rest of the trash accumulate in landfills because of their plastic casings. Moreover, the chemicals left inside can seep out of the casings and into the earth and nearby water sources. They poison whatever life might be subsisting in those environments and cause general damage to the ecosystem.
The good news is that there are eco-friendly ways to deal with used ink cartridges.
1# Recycling Centers – The simplest way to dispose of these materials is by sending them to local recycling centers, where they will be most welcome. Some centers provide pick-up services for no cost and will even pay in cash for receiving a minimum amount of used cartridges.
2# Retail Rebates – Some ink cartridge retailers accept empty ones, which they will recycle for new batches. In exchange, they will offer rebates for your succeeding purchases depending on the state of the cartridges you sent and their compatibility with different models of printers. You can help save the world and save some money while you’re at it.
3# Charity Donations – There are organizations that accept ink cartridges, which they convert to cash donations and give to the charity of the donor’s choice. Taking your waste to such groups won’t just help keep the world a safer and cleaner place, but will also help those sorely in need of basic, medical and educational aid.
4# Office Programs– Plenty of offices still make use of a lot of paper in their day-to-day schedules, amassing just as much excess trash in the process. By organizing a recycling program at work, companies can even benefit from their daily costs if they take their collected cartridges to any of the aforementioned organizations.
5# Ink Refill Stations – Reusing is just as good as recycling, so why not keep those cartridges useful by having them refilled in stations that provide such a service? It is much cheaper to have them refilled than to constantly buy new cartridges. You also get to keep printing without contributing to the already burdensome pollution problem the world faces.
Before sending the cartridges to any of these places, place them in a plastic wrapper to keep whatever remaining ink there is from spreading. It is best to use latex gloves when handling any sort of cartridge because of the mess it can easily make.
If none of these options are available, official manufacturers do provide ways for users to dispose of ink cartridges in a safe and eco-friendly manner. Check the cartridge’s packaging for instructions and follow them with due care. This is to avoid any potential mishaps such as leftover ink getting in the eyes or leaving hard-to-remove stains on clothes.
In case the ink does get on your clothes, do not wash them with warm water. Doing so will only make the ink cling to the cloth. Wipe away as much ink as you can before running the stained material under cold water and washing it with detergent. You can also use solvents such as nail polish removers and rubbing alcohol.