Recycling Used Ink Cartridges for Cash

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Look for Local Recyclers

There are now dozens of players in the printer ink cartridge recycling industry, but this recycling niche hasn't quite spread everywhere yet. Unlike paper, aluminum and ordinary recyclable plastics, all of which can be recycled at numerous private and public recycling facilities throughout the United States, printer cartridge recycling sites can be hard to find locally. You might be able to locate drop-off centers at computer and office supply stores, but these are often for donations only. Still, despite the challenge in finding recyclers in your area that are willing to pay for old ink cartridges, it's worth the effort. If you can hand-deliver your cartridges directly to the recycling center, you may stand to make more money per cartridge than you would by working with out-of-town recyclers. You can also typically collect your money immediately when working with a local recycler, whereas you will often have to wait for a check to arrive in the mail when shipping your cartridges out for recycling. To find ink cartridge recyclers in your area, start by checking your local phone directory and by inquiring among office supply and computer stores in your area. Environmental groups with a local focus in your area might also know of niche recycling centers near you.

Look for Recyclers Online

There are several successful recycling outfits that solicit shipments of used ink cartridges from individuals and organizations via an online interface. Many of these companies will even send free return shipping containers to their customers, provided those customers ship back a certain number of cartridges in each carton. These businesses typically pay a set dollar amount for every specific model and size of ink cartridge on the market, and they often advertise these rates on their websites. To make money from one or more of these companies, you may need to create a free account with them first. You can then request an empty return shipping cartridge if they offer that service, and ship all of your used cartridges to their recycling center. The recycler will then calculate the amount you're owed for the cartridges and send you payment, usually with a paper check. Some recyclers will only issue a check once you've accumulated a certain dollar amount, which may take more than one shipment.

Consider Alternatives to Recycling for Cash

Before you decide that you want to recycle your ink cartridges for cash, there are a couple of alternative uses you might want to consider. Many of the national, Web-based cartridge recycling services offer fundraising plans for not-for-profit organizations. Members of these organizations often hold their own ink cartridge donation drives, and in turn, they send those cartridges to recycling centers and collect the cash for their organizations. Recyclers sometimes pay out higher per-cartridge rates if the funds are going to charities, too. So if you're less concerned with your personal profit, your cartridges could be worth even more if you donate them to a charity that is participating in a cartridge donation program.