How To Recycle Printer Cartridges

If you are looking for an easy, fun activity that can save the planet, recycling printer cartridges is a great place to start.

Not only are you able to recycle them easily at home but they are also inexpensive to transform into new products. The supply materials discussed below can be found around the house and at local retailers.

All you have to do is follow the steps below and you will be on your way to saving money, avoiding clutter in landfills and even making a few bucks.

Supplies You Will Need

•  Paper towels or rags

•  Rubber gloves if you don’t like getting dirty

•  Water or window cleaner

•  Scissors 

• A recycled cartridge (to use)

• Collection bag (optional)

How To Recycle Printer Cartridges- The Process

1. Find a flat surface to work on, such as a table or floor, and clean it off using paper towels or rags. An area near your kitchen or bathroom sink will work well.

2. Remove the ink cartridge from the printer and hold it over a bin, dumping each color of ink onto paper towels or rags. Avoid spilling any ink on yourself by wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands. Depending on the type of cartridge you are recycling, there may be more than one compartment that holds ink.

3. Place the rubber or plastic gasket (also called a seal) over the cartridge holes and onto your work surface. It’s okay if it loses some suction; just firmly press it back into place.

4. Cut around the metal casing with scissors, making sure to cut as close as possible to the cartridge. The more of the material you can recycle, the more there is to make new products.

5. Take apart any removable parts (metal springs, rubber rollers, etc.) and small metal pieces (sliders). Removing these pieces will help decrease the weight of your cartridge before recycling it.

6. Place all recyclable pieces and parts into a collection bag. This will help keep them together and avoid any mix up between materials at the recycling center or manufacturer. If there is not a collection bag available, you can use a small plastic shopping bag from the grocery store to collect your parts for later processing.

7. Place your cartridge case back onto your work surface (gasket side down) and press firmly to re-attach.

8. Place your cartridge in a collection bag or box if you have one, or simply place it inside of your recycling bin for curbside pick up.

Tips And Cautions When Recycling A Printer Cartridge

1.  If you are recycling cartridges that hold more than one color of ink, make sure to rinse the nozzles for each compartment or pour out each color before disposing or recycling.

2. It is okay to place your cartridge inside of a plastic shopping bag (like those found at grocery stores) but make sure it’s sealed up well so ink doesn’t leak and soak through it.

3. After removing the metal casing in step four, you may see a black material left on your work surface (it looks like charcoal). This is often what holds the ink in the cartridge and can be placed back into your recycling bin along with everything else once you are finished prepping it for recycling.

4. If you’re not sure if your cartridge can be recycled, contact your local recycling center or printer manufacturer for more information.

5. A lot of people like to turn their old cartridges into new DIY products (like key chains). If you plan on doing this, make sure to check with your local recycling center first before throwing the cartridge into your recycling bin.

6. If the cartridge is broken or damaged, do not use it for anything else and contact your local recycling center for proper disposal options.

7. Do not put any cartridges in the trash, even if they are empty! Trash is only accepted by most landfills at a certain size so regular household printer cartridges cannot be thrown away.

8. Remember, the more cartridges you recycle, the less likely they are to end up in a landfill where they will take hundreds of years to decompose.


By recycling your old printer cartridges, you are helping to cut down on waste found in landfills. If you follow the steps above, it should be easy to recycle your old cartridges and get them ready for processing!

Hopefully, this detailed guide has helped you understand the recycling process and how to recycle printer cartridges. I hope that you will consider using this information when appropriate. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me through my Google profile.

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