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What is the best way to recycle ink cartridges?

Updated: Mar 16, 2019

The message "Ink cartridge low on ink" on your printer can be annoying. Having to purchase replacement ink cartridges and knowing what to do with the empty ink cartridge afterwards can be even more frustrating. However we can help guide you through making the best decisions for your wallet and the environment.

Do not throw the ink cartridges in the bin

Whilst this is the easy option it really isn't good for the environment. Each cartridge could take up to 1000 years to decompose and the remnants of the ink inside isn't exactly going to do the organisms or water table much good. Plus if a cartridge is thrown away more energy is used and valuable resources are pulled from the Earth to produce another one. Recycle Ink will send you a freepost returns envelope if your cartridge can be reused. Most ink cartridges can be refilled many times so its better to recycle the empty ink cartridge with Recycle Ink who will pay you or a school or charity money for the cartridges. Check if your cartridge can be recycled, if it can't it is worth changing your printer to be more sustainable and even get paid to return the empty ink cartridges.

What if my cartridges cannot be reused?

Any cartridge that cannot be reused can probably be recycled in Tescos or with your local council waste however all manufacturers must offer a recycling service. We will list their recycling services on our site shortly. If you need to recycle laser toner click here. It might be worth changing your printer if your ink cartridges cannot be reused or refilled.

Buy a printer that uses cartridges that can be refilled

Not all printers that are available in the UK use ink cartridges that can be refilled. We believe the government should step in to stop manufacturers building non sustainable printers which will ultimately continue to harm the environment as the cartridges cannot be reused. Manufacturers do, of course, make their money from selling the ink cartridges so do not like you to use refilled or compatible ink cartridges and offer recycling services but the cartridges are not reused, they are broken down and recycled which is not as good for the environment than using refilled ink cartridges. Below is a list of the printers that is currently on the market that we recommend, all of which can use refilled or remanufactured ink cartridges.

Buy refilled or remanufactured ink cartridges instead of new genuine ink cartridges

Using a printer can be expensive, especially if you buy original ink cartridges all the time. Instead we would recommend buying refilled ink cartridges to reduce your costs whilst helping save the environment. However you need to buy your ink cartridges from a reputable company. Many eBay and Amazon sellers lie about their cartridges making false claims on ink capacity. We have caught many companies claiming to sell XL cartridges by just simply putting a XL sticker on the top when really it is just a standard capacity ink cartridge. Some Chinese ink cartridges have fake chips and sub standard sponges inside which cannot be reused as normally the chips or sponges fail easily. We recommend you buy your refilled ink cartridges from a company who always use genuine ink cartridges for their refilling and do not mislead their customers. We would also recommend buying the XL versions of the cartridge whether original or refilled to lower your printing costs.

Do not use subscription ink or protect your ink cartridges

Subscription ink such as HP's Instant Ink programme might be great for some but its not great for the environment as the cartridges are linked to your printer and cannot be reused in another. Instead opt out of the programme and buy refilled ink cartridges if you'd like to save money on ink. There is an option in HPs software to "protect" the ink cartridge so it cant be used in another printer. Great if you have a theft problem in your office or school but again these cartridges cannot be reused and need to be recycled by being broken down completely. Therefore make sure the ink cartridge protection option is disabled on the printer using the PC software before you insert a new cartridge. You will only need to check this once and this option is only available on HP 302, HP 303, and HP 304 printers.

Recommended HP printers that use HP 304 Black and Colour Ink Cartridges

  • HP DeskJet 3720 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 3730 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 3732 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 2620 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 2630 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 2632 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 2633 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 2634 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 3735 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 3735 Printer

  • HP ENVY 5030 Printer

  • HP ENVY 5020 Printer

  • HP ENVY 5032 Printer

  • HP ENVY 5055 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 2622 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 3750 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 3760 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 3762 Printer

  • HP DeskJet 3764 Printer

  • HP ENVY 5010 Printer

  • HP AMP 130 Printer

Recommended HP printers that use HP 303 Black and Colour Ink Cartridges

  • HP ENVY Photo 6230 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 7130 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 7134 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 7830 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 6220 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 6232 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 6234 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 7120 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 7132 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 7820 Printer

  • HP ENVY Photo 7832 Printer

  • HP TANGO Printer

  • HP TANGO X Printer

Recommended Canon printers that use Canon PG545 Black and CL546 Colour Ink Cartridges

  • Canon PIXMA MG2450 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG2550 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA iP2850 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG2950 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MX495 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG2455 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG2555 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA iP2855 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG2950S Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG2955 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG3051 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG2550S Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG2900 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG3050 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG3052 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA MG3053 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA TS3150 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA TS3151 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA TS205 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA TS305 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA TR4550 Printer

  • Canon PIXMA TR4551 Printer

We hope you have found this blog useful. Together we can help save the environment whilst recycling for charity.

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