If you have been looking on the internet to buy a new ink cartridge or to find a toner cartridge recycling service the chances are that you have seen a number of blogs preaching the gospel of recycling your old cartridges. The blogs are generally fairly similar: save money by recycling your cartridge! Reuse old cartridges to save the environment! Yet few of those blogs dedicate much detail to how cartridge recycling actually works.
This is a real shame, since overall it is a very simple process. To begin with, despite what you might be told by larger printing companies the average toner cartridge is built fairly well, with parts that are highly unlikely to break down after running out of ink for the first time. In fact, pretty much all cartridges can be reused several times before finally getting thrown away or recycled.
In years past toner cartridge recycling was simply a matter of unplugging the rubber stopper on the built-in hole in the cartridge and pouring in new toner. Over the years the major brand names phased these refill holes out, so now consumers need to make their own in order to reuse their cartridges. This is accomplished by taking a soldering iron or other hot metal and melting a hole through the top of the toner cartridge into the main compartment. Using a drill could leave plastic flakes in your toner and reduce the quality of your printing. Once the new hole has cooled just pour in some new toner and reseal the hole with duct tape or something similar, insert the cartridge into your printer, and voila! You’re done.
Some companies have resorted to the particularly pernicious use of installing computer chips in their cartridges that prevent you from refilling and reusing them. Don’t worry, if your toner cartridge has one of these chips then just invest in one of the cartridge refill kits sold on the internet. These kits not only include the tools you need to make a new refill point, but also come with replacement chips to bypass that pesky chip requirement.