If you print heavily, share your computer and printer, or have children who print colorful webpages, you probably find yourself needing to replace ink cartridges frequently. Not only are these cartridges expensive, but an estimated 300 million ink cartridges wind up in landfills annually.
There are several things you can do to keep money in your pocket and lessen the landfill load when it comes to ink cartridges.
1. Choose refillable ink cartridges: Refilling ink cartridges can be a messy affair if you take it on yourself. A number of stores will refill them for you, Walgreens and Office Max being among them. However, not all ink cartridges are refillable. Find out from the stores that sell office supplies or have a photo department near you if they refill cartridges for your printer model. During printing, streaking is an indicator that the cartridge is running out of ink. This is the perfect time for a refill, as the cartridge should be filled before it runs dry.
When buying printers in the future, finding out if the ink cartridges it uses are refillable can save you money in the long run.
2. Recycle finished cartridges: Many libraries, Scouting programs, schools and office supply stores facilitate the recycling of ink cartridges. Don’t trash them; recycle.
3. Print in draft mode: Check out the owner’s manual for your printer to learn how to print drafts and unimportant documents in draft mode. (If you can’t find your manual, visit the brand’s website. They often have PDF versions online.) Printing in this mode uses less ink.
4. Print Preview: By simply previewing your document before printing, you can catch formatting errors and typos that will eliminate the need to reprint documents later.
5. Printing limits: If unsupervised, most kids will make endless prints from their favorite sites. Set a clear limit on the number of pages your children are allowed to print each day.