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 user 2005-07-20 at 10:07:00 am Views: 85
  • #11945

    Area stores’ cartridges save environment, money
    Two new businesses in Madison are among the growing number of entrepreneurs capitalizing on the market for re- used and remanufactured printer cartridges.

    Caboodle Cartridge and Cartridge World are national franchises that claim to help office managers and private individuals protect the environment, save money and make charitable contributions all while disposing of spent ink and toner containers.

    Now open at 2858 University Ave., the former location of a Victor Allen’s coffee shop, Caboodle Cartridge sells discount, refurbished cartridges for most printer and copier models. The company also accepts used cartridges for recycling, and for some models offers an exchange for a store credit or a check made out to a local charity.

    “Our customers are happy to save a couple of bucks off their next cartridge,” Caboodle co- owner Marianne Gariti said.

    Cartridge World, at 2402 E. Springs Drive, formerly the office of Communications Technicians, offers many of the same services. But unlike Caboodle, Cartridge World also refills used cartridges on the premises while you wait.

    “To save time, our customers can also buy recycled cartridges we have on hand,” owner Amy Barketallah said.

    Cartridge recycling has been available in Madison for a number of years. The city offers free mailers for consumers to send in their empty inkjet cartridges. National office supply retailers Office Max, Office Depot and Staples also offer free recycling services. And for businesses, there are several large-scale operations that will take used cartridges off their hands.

    Shadow Fax, a commercial recycling company at 4601 Helgesen Drive, began manufacturing ink and toner cartridges in 1988.

    “The products we make are produced right here in Wisconsin, and they’re as good or better than new ones built by other manufacturers,” said Reg Weide, national sales manager of Shadow Fax.

    Companies that do printing or make copies in large quantities have used recycling services as a way to save money.

    “The markup from the (original equipment manufacturers) is very high,” said Neil Peters- Michaud, chief executive of Cascade Asset Management, a technology equipment recycling company in Madison. “There’s a strong secondary market, and it’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to take advantage of.”

    Rob Wangard, president of Cartridge Savers, a new and remanufactured cartridge supplier based in Middleton, said business is booming.

    “The total U.S. market for monochrome (black and white) toner cartridges is about $7 billion, with remanufactured cartridges reaching 25 to 27 percent of units sold,” Wangard said.

    “The state of Wisconsin is projecting that it will purchase about $3.5 million in toner and inkjet cartridges this new fiscal year, and about 10 percent of this will be remanufactured cartridges,” he added.

    Refilled cartridges or new cartridges built from used components can save users of printers and copiers between 30 percent and 65 percent when buying replacements.

    “What’s new is the concept of retail making it available to consumers,” Barketallah said.

    In addition to saving money, Gariti said, cartridge recycling offers consumers an alternative to landfills. “They really appreciate having someplace to discard their cartridges they would otherwise throw in the garbage,” she said.

    Some owners of Madison cartridge businesses said they also work with local non-profit groups to recycle cartridges and convert them into cash donations. Weide said Shadow Fax makes regular contributions to Habitat for Humanity, and Barketallah at Cartridge World donates to the Boys and Girls Club