National Waste & Recycling Association

The National Waste & Recycling Association is the trade association that represents the private sector solid waste and recycling industry. Visit and learn more the Association at wasterecycling.org.

Begin with the Bin is a public education resource developed by the National Waste & Recycling Association.

The National Waste & Recycling Association is located at:
4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20008
T: 800-424-2869, 202-244-4700
F: 202-966-4824
E: info@wasterecycling.org
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To use our contact form and to subscribe to our free publications, click here.
Media: Chris Doherty at 202-364-3751 or cdoherty@wasterecycling.org.

Begin with the Bin

Begin with the Bin is a public education resource developed by the National Waste & Recycling Association. The site offers information and resources related to the waste and recycling industries. Visit and learn more at beginwiththebin.org.

Recycling Printer Cartridges

How to turn you black ink green…

FACT: Did you know it takes a gallon of oil to manufacture one inkjet cartridge?

Most of us use computers on a daily basis – and often print material for use at work, school, and home. In 2012, Americans generated 69 million tons of paper[1], most of which was used as a medium for printing. Much of that printing is done by laser and ink jet printers – which use plastic printer cartridges. Across the globe, every year, more than 350 million used, empty printer cartridges enter the waste stream. However, it is easy to reuse and recycle inkjet cartridges.

Recycling laser and ink jet printer cartridges is a great way to reduce both energy and water consumption and the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills (which does not bio-degrade).

The process for recycling printer cartridges is simple. Cartridges are disassembled and cleaned, and any necessary replacement parts are added. The cartridge is filled with high-quality toner or ink, and they are tested and packaged for redistribution. Most cartridges can be recycled up to six times, and contain high-quality components that give excellent printing results. There is also cost-savings passed on to the customer – recycled/reused cartridges cost less than originals.

How to Recycle and Reuse your Printer Cartridges

Read the instructions/box for your new printer cartridge carefully to find out how to recycle your specific brand. Many manufacturing companies will provide clear instructions, packaging materials and even free postage if you choose to recycle your used cartridge.

You may also refill certain ink cartridges. For all you DIY-types, many office supply stores offer easy-to-use refill kits for your inkjet or laser printer. If you’d rather not refill yourself, many print shops will refill cartridges for a small fee. However, remember that both toner and ink cartridges can only be refilled a certain number of times. In addition, there are parts of the cartridge that are not designed for repeated, lifetime use.

Several national retailers have programs encouraging customers to recycle cartridges, including in-store drop-boxes or money-back offers for each cartridge recycled. Some companies offer a donation to charities in exchange for returned empty printer cartridges.

Corporate Recycling Programs

Office Depot

Earn points, as well as rewards for educators and students. Learn more here.

Quill
Earn points toward your next order of ink cartridges. Learn more here.

Staples
Earn up to $2 pack per returned cartridge. Learn more here.

 Hewlett-Packard
Offers in-store drop off and free shipping for HP brand ink cartridge recycling. Learn more here.

Epson
Receive warranty upgrade and free inkjet cartridge for participation in recycling program. Learn more here.

Canon
Ship your used cartridges for free at any FedEx Office location. Learn more here.

Lexmark
Ship your used cartridges to Lexmark at no charge. Learn more here.

Oki
Oki offers customers the convenience of shipping toner cartridge back and ordering a new one at the same time. Learn more here.

Xerox
Xerox offers free shipping for Xerox and certain HP print cartridges. Learn more here.

Panasonic
Panasonic offers free shipping for cartridge returns. Learn more here.

Samsung
You can ship your Samsung print cartridges back via the U.S. Postal Service for free. Learn more here.

Brother
Brother has a recycling program for used printer cartridges that is free of charge. Learn more here.

Kyocera
Although shipping is not free, Kyocera customers can get information about recycling their cartridges. Learn more here.

Toshiba
Toshiba offers a great deal of information about recycling its print cartridges. Learn more here.

Dell
Dell has recycling for its inkjet and laser products. And shipping is free. Learn more here.