ink cartridge recycling

Ink Cartridge Recycling – Earning You Extra

Money Saver Pete Money Making 2 Comments

Ever wondered what to do with your used ink cartridges? Then take a look at recycling. Not only helps the planet but it could help you to make some money.

I’m not sure about you, but having a printer has become a very important part of our household. My wife runs her child minding business here, my kids are always printing for their homework and I am often printing off postage labels. We can sometimes get through over 100 pages per month.

The cost of printers is very reasonable too.  A basic machine will set you back around £30 and you can purchase a very good model for less than £100.

The real cost comes from ink cartridges. Depending on the make, they can cost anywhere between £10 and £30.

We use a scheme called HP Instant Ink which save us a lot of money. Each month, HP send us a new cartridge and kindly supply us with an envelope to return our old cartridge for free.

Why do they want the empty cartridges back?

I always thought it was very generous of HP to recycle my old cartridges for free. In fact, it made me a little suspicious. So I decided to dig a little deeper. It turns out that many companies want your empty cartridges so they can refill them and then sell them on.

Where is best for selling old ink cartridges?

There are plenty of places you can recycle old toner cartridges for money. Prices they pay vary from company to company, so it’s certainly worth comparing. Most will provide you with a free-post label to send your cartridges in.

My preferred choice is The Recycling Factory, based only on the fact I have used them before. Also, take a look at places like Empties Please and Takeback Ltd to see which offers the best price.

What do I need to know?

First of all, you will need to know the manufacturer and whether it is black or a colour cartridge. It will usually state on the cartridge itself. If you can’t tell, then take a look at your printer manual or online.

Next, you will need to know if it is virgin or non-virgin. Virgin means that it is an original cartridge bought straight from the main supplier. A non-virgin cartridge is one that has previously been refilled or it will have a label from another company such as Tesco or Asda.

ink cartridge recycling

The cartridges above are all virgin as they were bought straight from HP and have their logo.

If you can’t tell, don’t worry too much. Still, send them and let the recycling company decide.

What next?

This depends on the company. You will usually need to create an account which will allow you to print off a postage label (often free). You then send the cartridges off to your chosen recycler and wait for them to get in contact.

In the case of The Recycling Factory, it takes them around a month before they come back with how much they will give you for the cartridges.

How will you be paid?

Normally through a direct bank transfer or by cheque (remember those?) Some companies do have a minimum threshold of how much they will send you, so you may not receive your payment until you’ve sent enough cartridges.

Any downsides to ink cartridge recycling?

The fact is, you are relying on these companies to be honest. Once you’ve sent your cartridges, that’s it, they’re gone. If the company contacts you to say that the old ink cartridges weren’t any good and they won’t be sending you any cash, then you have to accept that.

However, if you never received money from them before, it’s not like you’re missing out anyway.


If you don’t fancy a recycling company, you could try to sell your empties on eBay. There are plenty of empty cartridges listed on there and many seem to sell. You do need to consider that you will have to pay fees though.

Is ink cartridge recycling worth it?

This is certainly worth looking into, especially if you print a lot at home. Take a look at some of the companies I listed above to see who will give you the best price for your old cartridges.

Take a look at other ways to make some extra money.

Comments 2

  1. What a good idea. It’s really great to know that they’re being recycled, too, and not just dumped in landfill. I’m going to check out your links, thanks!

    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.