It’s not the kind of recycling you hear a lot about, but there’s actually a market for used printer cartridges. I explored it recently when my in-laws cleared out their house and we discovered my father-in-law was basically hoarding old printer cartridges. I’m not really sure what he planned to do with them, but there they were.
I took them and did a little internet research. Here’s what I found.
Who Buys Old Printer Cartridges and Why?
Companies buy old printer cartridges because they refill them and then resell them on websites like eBay. It’s not a huge market, but it’s there.
There are a few companies that actually pay you for your printer cartridges. Let’s start out with who I didn’t choose.
Evolve Recycling had a really complex sign up process that required me to provide a company name. I didn’t have one, so I skipped it.
I ended up picking Toner Buyer. Mostly because of the company issue, but also because when I compared prices, I stood to make more money selling to Toner Buyer. I would suggest comparing prices before choosing between Toner Buyer and Evolve Recycling because while my cartridges were more in demand at Toner Buyer, others were worth more at Evolve Recycling.
Signing up for Toner Buyer is pretty easy. You put in your name and mailing address and then start filling out your own order form. The form consists of a list of printer cartridges from all kinds of inkjet printers and laser printers. You figure out what kind of cartridge you have and how many.
Fill out the form and then take a screenshot because you’ll need it for later.
I submitted on a Friday night and received an email response with a shipping label attached when I woke up Monday morning. There was also a packing slip, but it was not filled out.
What Happens Next
I had to fill out the form again (this is where the screenshot comes in handy) and print it along with the shipping label. I packaged all of my printer cartridges in a box with the packing slip and then taped the label on the box. I dropped the box off at UPS and then waited.
You will not receive an email telling you your cartridges were received. You will not receive any notification that your items have been processed. What you will receive is a check in the mail about a month later.
In all, I made nearly $60 off of my father-in-law’s old printer cartridges. Per our deal, that money’s going into my kids’ college funds. I got a check. I cashed it. It didn’t bounce. Victory!
The Bottom Line
- You’re getting money for something that you were going to throw out or recycle for free.
- TonerBuyer.com makes the process fairly simple, though there were some hiccups. Most specifically having to fill out two order forms.
- It’s an extremely messy process. I wore gloves and still got some ink on my fingers.
- It’s not a huge amount of money.
I like Toner Buyer because it gave me money for something that I was going to toss out. Any time I can swing that, it’s a win.
This is defiitely something you can do with or without kids, though I would be careful of the mess. Other than that, it’s a great mini side hustle.