How to Recycle Empty Ink Cartridges for Cash: 18 Legitimate Ways

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Have you ever wondered what to do with old printer cartridges when you’re done with them?

Should you throw them away?

Recycle them?

Leave them in a drawer until you figure it out?

Many experts believe that recycling your old ink cartridges is the best way to go because it’s economical to do and it’s good for the environment.

But what’s in it for you?

Well, money could be.

Recycling ink cartridge isn’t always just recycling.

Some recycling options will pay you cash just for handing in your old ink cartridges, which could help you save up for some more ink for your printer (which we all know can be expensive!).

Interested in earning cash on your old ink cartridges?

Keep reading!

Why Recycle Empty Ink Cartridges for Cash?

The act of recycling ink cartridges is something that’s been going on for a while, but you may not know why so many ink companies encourage the behavior.

HP, for example, sends prepaid shipping bags to send back ink cartridges when you sign up for the HP Ink program that sends you ink automatically when your printer detects low ink levels.

All you need to do is gather a few used ink cartridges, stick them in the envelope, and send them back to HP for free.

Why is this becoming such common practice with ink companies?

The simple answer: Recycling ink cartridges is good for the environment.

Ink cartridges are plastic, and plastic is something that’s not so great for the environment when it gets thrown away.

The plastic used on ink cartridges can be even worse than other plastics because it takes a long time to decompose.

Instead, it can be recycled to make new plastic or use for refilling ink cartridges to cut down on the need to make new plastic.

The result is less use of natural resources, like water, oil, and trees, to make plastic.

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It also uses less energy and creates lower emissions, so it keeps Earth healthy.

And if you can get paid to do this simple act, why not?

How to Recycle and Sell Used Toner Cartridges

There are a few legitimate ways you can recycle your used ink and toner cartridges and make some money off them:

Turn Them into Office Supply Stores

Big office supply chain stores usually offer buy-back or recycling programs on items they sell there – like ink cartridges!

Check with Office Supply and Staples if you have them near you.

Office Supply offers $2 back in rewards (make sure you’re a part of the rewards program first) when you turn in used ink cartridges.

You can use those rewards toward other products and orders either in person or online.

Staples also gives $2 per cartridge that you turn in and that money also goes toward your rewards card as a rewards member.

You can turn in up to 20 cartridges a month, meaning you could get $40 each month just by turning in your used ink cartridges.

Then, use your rewards dollars toward other orders.

Other locally owned office supply companies might have their own similar program in store, so be sure to call and ask about it.

Sell Them on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace

Some people recycle used ink cartridges by filling them back up with ink and selling them to people who want to pay less than regular price for filled ink cartridges.

This is actually a pretty popular business on eBay, with lots of people selling cartridges that they filled themselves and can sell for more than what they bought them for to make a profit.

In addition to eBay, you can find this sort of activity on other selling places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

Because these people sell on these selling sites, your best bet is to sell your ink cartridges to them on those sites, too!

Offer bulk packages of used and empty ink cartridges as listings on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, or another site.

Keep the costs competitive enough for sellers of used ink cartridges to want to buy them.

You may want to check what other similar listings are going for so you can get an idea of how to price yours.

Recycle and Sell Them Yourself

Or, you might decide to start up this kind of business yourself!

It obviously works for other people, so why couldn’t it work for you?

You’d need to read up on how to fill empty ink cartridges properly, as it does have a little bit of a learning curve.

Try practicing with several first before you’re ready to sell them to the public.

Soon, you could have your own little ink cartridge buying, refilling, and selling business, and you can use the empty cartridges you accumulate to help you run your own business for less money.

Bring Them to Local Recycling Centers That Pay

Some recycling centers don’t just gather your recyclables, but they may also pay you for them.

If you know of recycling centers in your area, call them to see if they take ink cartridges.

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If they do, ask if they’ll pay.

Even if you get a few cents from each one, it’s better than getting nothing.

You can also use Earth911 to find recycling centers near you that might take ink cartridges.

Join RecycleBank

If you do have a recycling center in your area, but it won’t pay for your ink cartridges, you still have a way to make money when you join RecycleBank.

This is a program that rewards you for doing recycling deeds!

Sign up for free and then browse the Earn Points section of the website, which includes all the offers you can use to get paid to recycle.

You’ll get paid in points when you do a good recycling deed, which you can turn in for several prizes on the site, including magazine subscriptions, restaurant gift cards, entertainment discounts, and more.

Bonus: You can even use this rewards program if you do get paid to recycle at a recycling center!

Sell Them to Buy-Back Sites

Buy-Back sites are what they sound like. Sell your empty ink cartridges to them, and they’ll buy them back from you.

You can usually use these sites to send in bulk ink cartridges for free (most won’t accept just a few because of cost and shipping purposes) and get money back depending on the brand and type of cartridge.

Each site of this kind will function a little differently, so make sure you read through all the details first before deciding which one to use.

Here are a few of the best ink cartridge buy-back sites that you can browse through to decide on your best option:

  • Evolve Recycling: This site pays companies for their recycled ink cartridges and toners, so this can be a good one if you own a business that uses a lot of ink.
  • US Recycling: You can get as much as $4 for recycling your empty ink cartridges with this company. You can also get your school, business, or organization involved!
  • InkjetCartridge: Sell empty cartridges for your HP, Canon, Dell, or another printer to earn a little money.
  • TonerBuyer: Pays up to $22 per empty ink cartridge or toner you want to get rid of.
  • STS Inks: This company sells new and used ink cartridges. You can get $2 for each ink cartridge you send when you collect at least 48 of them.
  • Advantage Cartridge: This place lets you gather large amounts of ink cartridges to turn in for a few bucks each.

If you’re needing a fundraiser for your organization, school, or company, you might try Dazz-Cycle.

This site lets you earn profit on recycled ink cartridges you collect and send in to help reach your fundraiser goals.

There’s also Cartridges 4 Kids, Empties4Cash, and Inkjets for Education, all of which offer fundraising opportunities using ink cartridges!

Gather up everyone in the neighborhood and turn in those cartridges for fundraising.

Read more: 

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Get Paid for Used Ink Cartridges

Whether you go through several ink cartridges a month or it takes you months to get through one, you can still turn them in for some cash.

It’s always a good deed to recycle, but there’s not anything wrong with getting paid a little bit of money for that good deed (if it was, there wouldn’t be so many recycling centers and websites offering cash for your ink cartridges as an incentive!).

The thing is, your recycled cartridges help businesses save money because they don’t have to spend a bunch of money making new cartridges.

The $2 they pay you is much less than they’d spend making new cartridges.

And they get to do something positive for the environment when they buy them, so it’s a win-win.

Make that a win-win-win since you win too by making some cash with your good deed.

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