The Case for and Against Recycled Ink Cartridges

With ink cartridges for printers remaining a fairly high-cost replacement item many of us are looking towards the companies who will refill them at lower cost. In this article we examine whether this is a good eco-friendly idea or a false economy. Is it worth saving a few pounds?

1. Re-manufactured Cartridges  What are They?

Essentially, a re-manufactured cartridge is one which has been recycled and refilled and as it is in the same casing as the original, it will still be compatible with your printer model. On average, they are at least 30% cheaper than buying new. Cost comparison websites online will uncover a huge array of options. All of the major brands and printer types are generally available, unless you happen to have a printer on the cusp of becoming an antique, in which case you may struggle to find any cartridges at all. (Tip – if your printer is that old, it is probably worth investing in a new one).

2. But do They Work?

A packet of re-manufactured ink cartridges should be fine, although of course there are some unscrupulous dealers out there, who will sell shoddy goods. Just as a brand new packet may malfunction occasionally and give patchy results, the same is true with refurbished. However, there are few complaints on the online forums and the majority of customers appear satisfied with their choice of purchase.

3. The Delicate Chip:

The most vulnerable and fragile part of any ink cartridge is the chip which is embedded in it, usually protected by a plastic strip. This is prone to damage, particularly in transit. Always check that the protective film is in place before attempting to lock in a new cartridge of any nature. Sometimes an initial mis-connection can be solved by adjusting the printer settings. The printer has to “detect” the information which is carried on the chip and you can often help it to do this with a little playing around.

4. What Brands Can be Refilled?

Not all print ink manufacturers produce cartridges which can be easily adapted. Brother, Canon, HP and Dell are all compliant with being refilled, but the designers at Epson and Lexmark have developed a “killer chip” which cannot be re-set, thus inhibiting the market in cheaper refills. Some re-manufacturers are working at ways around this and discovering how to reset the chips, so this is unlikely to remain an issue.

5. Better for the Environment:

One of the key pointers that we haven’t mentioned yet is the eco-friendliness of using re-manufactured ink cartridges instead of buying new packs every time. Saving all that plastic from going into the landfill has to be a plus point.

There are no definite reasons not to try using ink cartridges which have been recycled and refilled for a second use. The chances of one being defective in no greater or lesser a risk than from buying new and the reduction in waste is considerable. Most convincingly of all however is the fact that they save so much money.

Author’s Bio:

Technology blogger, Diyana Lobo, talked to several industry specialists and ink cartridges experts in researching this piece and although she is still slightly sceptical, she is going to give re-manufactured cartridges a try.

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