Each year, hundreds of millions of empty ink cartridges wind up in landfills. Worse yet, studies show cartridges can take hundreds of years to decompose, with some components taking more than 1,000 years to break down. In order to help reduce this massive amount of waste, several of the largest ink manufacturers will help you recycle your cartridges for free. Here are a few of the most popular programs and a little bit about how they work.
HP is one of the biggest ink and toner manufacturers out there, and they make it especially easy for you to recycle your empty cartridges. Whether you only have one or have been sitting on 1,000, HP will give you free, postage-paid boxes and envelopes to return your empties. Keep in mind, they will only recycle original HP cartridges through this program.
The recycling program from Lexmark is very similar to HP. Tell them how many pre-paid bags you need for your cartridges and they’ll send them your way. Currently you can only request three bags at a time, but Lexmark notes one bag will typically hold several cartridges. Once again, only original Lexmark cartridges are eligible.
Canon’s recycling program isn’t quite as convenient as other mail-in programs. However, “convenient” is a relative term in this case. Empty Canon ink cartridges can be recycled at any of more than 1,600 FedEx Office Locations throughout the United States. Simply drop them off and FedEx will make sure they get where they need to go.
Dell provides several different recycling options to meet the needs of everyone from individuals to corporations. All you need to do is print a pre-paid shipping label from their website and send in the empties. In fact, HP recommends using the box from your replacement cartridge to mail the old cartridge. This is yet another way to minimize waste produced in the recycling process.
The Xerox Green World Alliance is one of the most comprehensive ink and toner recycling programs available. In the last 20 years it has managed to keep 145 million pounds of waste out of landfills. You can visit the Xerox website to download a pre-paid shipping label for single item returns, or request a free box for multiples. In addition to original Xerox cartridges, the program has also started accepting many HP cartridges.
In order to participate in the Brother cartridge recycling program, you’ll first have to create an account on their website. After that you can start creating free shipping labels to return your empty cartridges. Once you’ve bagged them up, drop them in the mail at any USPS location and they’ll handle the rest.
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