*NEWS*REFILL , DON’T REPLACE !

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*NEWS*REFILL , DON’T REPLACE !

 user 2006-04-03 at 1:20:00 pm Views: 68
  • #15048

    Refill, don’t replace
    Sometimes
    saving money and helping the environment can fit together like …
    well, like the way the printer ink cartridge fits into your computer
    printer.

    If
    you’ve been buying brand-name ink cartridges for your printer, you’ve
    surely noticed the high prices. Critics have said that,
    ounce-for-ounce, printer ink often costs more than perfume.
    But you
    can save up to 50 percent – and help reduce waste and conserve
    resources – by purchasing refilled or remanufactured cartridges. You
    have an increasing number of choices now, so if you’ve shied away from
    those lower-cost alternatives in the past, it’s time to give them
    another look.
    First, a quick primer on printers. Many households and
    small businesses have color inkjet printers, which use liquid ink.
    Offices commonly use laser printers that use powdery toners.
    Major
    inkjet printer manufacturers attract buyers with rock-bottom prices -
    as low as $30 for a new printer. Once you buy the printer, you need
    cartridges, and that’s where companies make the bulk of their profits.
    The original manufacturer’s replacement ink cartridge for that $30
    printer may cost you – about $30.
    It takes 2-½ ounces of oil to
    produce the plastic in a new inkjet cartridge, and 3-½ quarts of oil to
    make a toner cartridge, says Recharger Magazine, a trade journal for
    the cartridge reuse industry. More than 250 million inkjet and toner
    cartridges are disposed of in the U.S. every year, according to
    Recharger.
    And there’s really no need to throw them out. Laser toner
    cartridges are reusable, and most inkjet cartridges can also be
    refilled and reused a half-dozen times or more.
    The printer
    manufacturers try to discourage this, by issuing dire warnings of the
    risks of using other inks in their printers, frequently changing the
    cartridge technology and even taking remanufacturers and refillers to
    court.
    But with all the money at stake, entrepreneurs have jumped
    in. Refill shops are the latest trend. At these shops, you can have
    your old ink cartridge refilled on the spot, or turn in your cartridge
    and buy an identical one that they’ve already refilled. Three national
    chains of refill shops have a total of 14 stores in the Puget Sound
    area: Cartridge World (www.cartridgeworldusa.com), Island Ink-Jet
    (www.islandinkjet.com) and Rapid Refill Ink (www.rapidrefillink.com).
    They also sell remanufactured toner cartridges.
    National
    office-supply and drugstore chains have also gotten into the act.
    Office Depot, OfficeMax and Walgreens are testing inkjet-refill service
    at selected stores around the country, and will likely roll out the
    service nationally soon.
    The printer manufacturers insist that their
    printers perform better with their own inks. Tests by Consumer Reports
    in 2004 and 2005 indicated that the printer manufacturer’s brands do
    perform best overall, but that some off-brands may be fine for basic
    printing. Consumer Reports did not test the newer refill chains.
    Those
    refill chains say the quality of their cartridges is higher than
    remanufactured cartridges that have previously been available. All
    three of the major refill chains with local stores guarantee their
    cartridges. In some cases, the chains test refilled cartridges before
    they sell them.
    If you use your printer mainly for things like maps,
    recipes and the kids’ homework, refilled cartridges should work just
    fine. When I replaced a black ink cartridge in my home printer with one
    that had been refilled by a local chain, I couldn’t tell the
    difference. But for photos you’re going to keep for generations, you
    may want to use the brand-name cartridges.
    Because used inkjet and
    toner printer cartridges have so much value for the refilling and
    remanufacturing markets, you should never throw them away. Many schools
    and nonprofits collect cartridges for fundraisers, and some stores also
    accept them at no charge. For listings of cartridge collection programs
    and locations, see the King County “What do I do with?” Web site
    (www.metrokc.gov/dnrp/swd/wdidw) and select “Printing Cartridges.
    With
    all this activity, it’s a golden age of reuse for printer cartridges.
    Take advantage of it now, because with all the money at stake, and the
    courts involved, the picture could change quickly