Monday, September 21, 2009

Eco Refill-able Printer Cartridges?

After an excellent post on Myzerowaste on how to extend the life of printer cartridges, I went to investigate the options for our trusty old inkjet printer!

The original cartridges Mum has been buying are quite costly, and a neighbour has suggested refills!
We were of course very sceptical at first, but he told us of a trusted website he uses to get the refill kits from (inks+syringe+gloves), and how the quality is just as good and there were no problems with his printer! (We were scared any refills would damage our printer or produce lower quality, as the manufacturers or shops like to scare us with!) - Surely they can't be 'eco' if they can kill your printer? But do they?

Unfortunatelly the Slovenian site only offered new cartridges for our HP Deskjet, so I googled 'the type of the printer + refill' and voila! Apparently refill kits are available from international websites!

Source: (Yes, that does look a bit strange? I wonder what you get exactly!:)
The idea is exciting and I'd love to order! Or possibly find a more local source?

But are those websites (and inks) reliable? has a good review on inkjet refilled cartridges with great pointers and ideas to contemplate.

Manufactured/refilled cartridges can be either good or possibly too worn out from being refilled too many times, which can cause different problems according to type of printer and the heads used on the cartridge(?)
So a decision whether to use or not use manufactured non-originals might have to do with the type of printer too!

There were some small problems with some cartridges (one produced high quality prints afterwards though!) Then they had them evaluated by people who didn't know what was printed with which.

Now get this: "There are several conclusions that can be drawn from these figures, but the key one is: Our panel preferred prints produced with ink from a third-party provider over those produced with manufacturer’s own products." LOL!!

Some useful comments too: Why aren't cartridges more standard? Why isn't there a law to make them more standard?
The question for the average consumer is also how long the refilled cartridges last, to pinpoint the price.
Also, apparently damages are possible and depend on quality of products (meaning depends on manufacturer and their internal conrols!) - "the "cleanliness" of the ink, the filtration, and dye or pigment consistency and ink purity are all imperative, as well as other cartridge related factors, a longevity test showing the overall costs would" be important and helpful to decide.

So it seems like a complex issue, and most definitely a project!
It's not 'either' 'or', one needs to take into account own printer and suppliers..

And we're not even near the question of why our parrot coughed whenever there was printing being done? (Even with the original cartridges!)
Honestly, I smell it too, and might have gotten a sort of 'allergy' to ink from printers when working in an office with a laser printer, of all things! (Or maybe I was just allergic to the job?;)

What do you use? Original or refilled cartridges, or do you do your own refills? (I'm leaning toward the last option!)

Also, how do you dispose of the used cartridges? Do you give them back to the store/recycling programme immediately once they are used up, or do they gather dust in the drawer? (I know, I know.. guilty!! As we often didn't quite know what to do with them!)
Would it be best to give/send them back as soon as possible, so the ink is not too dried, and so they can be cleaned and refilled more easily? It would be good to know!

So, stay tuned! There will be more research into inks and refill kits and such! :)


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  2. So glad you posted this! My printer just ran out of ink and i was trying to extend its life by letting water run through the tip...
    I'm guess the ink might have just dried up and not finished because my bf barely bought it a while ago (i think I may have destroyed it tho :P oops!)
    I heard my local drugstore refills ink for cheaper but not my kind of cartridge :( so instead of buying a new one, I was trying to find a cheaper and better alternative to reuse my cartridge..
    please let me know what you chose to do and how it worked :)
    I also still have my old cartridges kept in my drawer :P I didn't want to just throw them away like that.. so I have to find out where they accept old cartridges to recycle :P

  3. WOW!! Mrs Green, an award!! I'm honoured!!

    Kay, what I'd do in your case would be to google 'the name of your printer + refill' (without the 'signs') and find websites that sell refills.
    I did a bit of Googling and found 3 local suppliers here in Slovenia! :) YAY!

    Often they have instructions too, or are able to tell you stuff if you call them.
    I found exact instructions for my type of cartridges, and also found reviews (again, you google 'type of printer + review')

    Sometimes even older cartridges can be cleaned (either with water and/or special cleaning solution they provide, or otherwise) so it pays to take a look at your specific printer and cartridges and google a bit and/or call a helpful company!

  4. I have only purchased ink for my lovely printer once, it has now sat 3 years with no ink! darn me for being so cheap, I need to suck it up, I'm going to look into refills now - thanks!