7 Ways to Recycle Printer Cartridges for Cash


Did you know that the pile of empty, used up printer cartridges that sits and gathers dust in the corner of the office might actually be the equivalent of some honest to goodness cash?It’s true! There are many ways you can use the Internet and brick and mortar establishments to recycle printer cartridges for cash.

Can everyday consumers do the same? Absolutely, whether it is one or one hundred, you can use the seven following methods to recycle printer cartridges for cash. Traditionally, most of us wonder just what to do about these frequently used (and tossed away) bits of plastic and other materials. Sometimes, we throw them out simply because we just don’t know what to do with them. Sometimes, we toss them because it seems too challenging to find a way to recycle them.

Most consumers and business owners have struggled with the issue of what to do with toner or ink cartridges that have outlived their usefulness, and by tossing them in the trash, we are not actually handling them effectively. For one thing, they are the opposite of environmentally friendly and can bulk up the waste stream; filling our landfills with all kinds of toxins.

For another thing, most printer cartridges can actually be recycled multiple times before they have to be permanently destroyed (the standard figure is around six times!). Just tossing them on the first use is a horrible waste of materials. It is also a big waste of financial opportunity.

How? Well, that’s the final point – you can recycle printer cartridges for cash (or credit, which is really the same as free money!). So, throwing them out is the same as throwing away actual cash. Let’s look at seven ways you can recycle empty ink cartridges for cash, and all without any real effort or difficulty.

Naturally, the biggest question is just where to recycle ink cartridges for money. There are a surprising number of places this can happen, with some online and some in the real world. So, if you are ready to start learning how to recycle printer cartridges for cash, let’s jump right in!

1. Return Them to a Store for Credit

One of the simplest ways to recycle printer cartridges for cash is to bring them right back to the store you originally purchased them. Most of the big box office supply stores have easy to use programs. We’ll call them the “big three”, but it is often more than just Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax that have in store return and rewards programs.

That’s the point to keep in mind. None of them hand you money when you recycle empty ink cartridges for cash. Instead, most issue a reasonable credit to an established account or to your rewards account (meaning you have to sign up first).

For example, if you go to Office Depot, you can “get $3 back in Worklife Recycling Rewards for Lexmark, Dell, HP and Office Depot brand inkjet cartridges. Qualifying toner cartridges are Canon, Dell, HP, Brother, Lexmark, Samsung and Office Depot brand.”

You can even bring in up to five of the cartridges that qualify on a daily basis.

Similar rewards apply to OfficeMax, with limits of up to ten each week (or $30 in credit). If you want to recycle printer cartridges for cash at Staples, a similar program is in place, with the major brands like Kodak, Lexmark, HP and Dell generating up to $3 per unit.

Stores like Kinko’s, Walgreens and Best Buy also have programs, but these vary. If you are eager to know where to recycle ink cartridges for money, don’t overlook them as options.

2. Use One of the Online Buy Back Sites

If heading into a store is not your ideal answer to where to recycle ink cartridges for money you can also go online to recycle printer cartridges for cash. Described as “buy back” sites, these represent some of the many different places to convert used cartridges for case.

The way it works is quite simple. You go online and look at the site’s list of accepted brands, what prices they offer, what policies they use, and all of the rest. If you agree to their terms and want to use them to recycle empty ink cartridges for cash, you create an account, get them to mail you or email you the prepaid postage label, and then you package up and send them the shipment.

Once they get the package and approve the items enclosed, they can issue you a check or give you payment in the method to which you agreed. Be sure that you always itemize and track what you have sent, and be certain they accept your products/brands.

If you are eager to recycle printer cartridges for cash using this approach, here is a good list of buy back sites:

eCycleGroup.com – They emphasize organizations rather than individuals and offer an ideal way for a business to recycle printer cartridges for cash.

TonerBuyer.com – They work with individuals and groups. They accept printer, copier and fax supplies and indicate that they pay “top dollar” to those who wish to recycle empty ink cartridges for cash.

3. Get Money for Your Favorite Charity Using a Buy Back Site

You can also use some of the buy back sites offering options to recycle printer cartridges for cash, but sending the funds to the charities of your choice.

Recycle4Charity is a good example of this. They have a donation program in which businesses and government agencies can donate inkjet and laser toner cartridges (as well as cell phones) in order to see the funds go to the charities of their choice. This site requires registration, but is an ideal way to see your used cartridges turned into cash to benefit others.

4. As a Fundraiser

When you roll together the buy back sites and charitable or non-profit groups, you find many that allow you to recycle printer cartridges for cash as a form of fundraiser.

A prime example of this is the Empties4Cash website. This is noted for being the one with the fastest turnaround time – often sending funds in just two weeks. It is free to those who participate and even has free FedEx pickups. You can use it to fundraise for your organization, school or enterprise and you can also opt to support a cause through it. If you want to know where to recycle ink cartridges for money for fundraising or charity, this is a good choice, too.

The USRecycleInk site is also good for this, but it is actually the most far-reaching of all such sites having options to recycle printer cartridges for cash for school fundraising, for nonprofits and directly for cash for businesses.

5. Sell Them on Sites Like eBay

When thinking about ways to recycle printer cartridges for cash, you may not consider selling them. After all, it would feel a lot like selling your trash for cash. However, many people make rather hefty profits off of their empties.

As one successful penny pincher indicated, “I’ve sold empty inkjet cartridges from my HP home printer through the site twice. The first time, I made $24.99 for six empty cartridges, and the second time I sold five cartridges for $34. Selling multiple cartridges at once, known as selling in lots, helps save you time and makes your listing more attractive to buyers.”

The key to success is ensuring you give full details, including make, model number, and details about the ink (color, black and white, single color, etc.). If these are first-time use, and have never been refilled, using the term “virgin” also boosts the sale prices.

What can you expect to take in as the average amount per cartridge? It might surprise you to learn that selling in bulk generally nets you about $2.50 per cartridge, and the more you have in each of your lot, the better the results of this way to recycle printer cartridges for cash.

Note that you’ll need to take into consideration the costs of packing materials and supplies and pass that on to the buyer in the form of fees added to shipping and/or handling. Also, you may lose a bit, but if you pay for the shipping, it could net you even greater opportunities for fast sales.

Why would buyers want the empties? They could be doing buy back or return programs themselves, but many also use specialty kits to refill and re-sell the cartridges. So paying small sums for the empties and refilling them for a profit is a fairly savvy business model.

Remember, they can be reused up to six times before they are no longer viable. So, this is another, secondary way to recycle printer cartridges for cash – if you want a side gig that reuses the empties!

6. Try Recycling Centers Like Earth911

If you are eager to recycle printer cartridges for cash, you can go online to discover if there are brick and mortar centers that accept them and, in return, pay you small sums. The Earth911 website (above) accepts more than 350 materials and the website uses a simple search engine to point you towards more than 100,000 different recycling facilities in North America. You can also use their phone system (1-800-CLEANUP) to discover nearby recycling sites.

Note that not all will give you a way to recycle printer cartridges for cash, but you may find a local resource you were unaware of and which can help you generate a small return on each empty.

7. Try Manufacturer Take Back Programs

Finally, if you want to recycle printer cartridges for cash, some of the major manufacturers have take back programs that periodically reward you with payment or coupons that provide deep discounts on repeat purchases of the same brand of cartridge. So, spend a bit of time researching websites like those belonging to Canon, Brother, HP, Epson and the rest. They may have programs in which you can recycle printer cartridges for cash going on at the moment, or they can point you to places offering up money for empties.

Some Final Points about the Option to Recycle Printer Cartridges for Cash

If you have decided that you do want to get paid for your empty and used printer or toner cartridges, there are some final words of wisdom that can help you enjoy the best results and outcomes.

  • Is the cartridge OEM? – This means original equipment manufacturer. These are the brands that produced the printer, too. As one expert said, “They’re either the ink supplies that accompanies your printer when you purchase it or they’re replacement cartridges that are made by the same company.”

Why does this matter? If you are to get top dollar (or any dollar in some instances), you want OEM cartridges that are in that “virgin” condition (i.e. used only the one time and never refilled)

  • Are your cartridges third party? – This means they were made to be “compatible” with specific machines, but not OEM. They are designed to work with a range of different models, but do not fall under a specific brand name or type.
  • Are they re-manufactured already? – This means that the cartridges you have are already in the “used” condition when you put them in the printer. If so, you cannot expect the same monies as you would for the other varieties since these may need more repair and updating before they can be resold.

Understanding just those distinctions can help you determine if you can ask top dollar for your empties or you would be better off selling in bulk and getting whatever is offered.

Either way, the good news is that you can always find ways of recycling printer cartridges for cash. You have just learned seven pretty impressive methods, and none of them ask much of you while they let you enjoy truly surprising financial returns.




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