Understanding Remanufactured Cartridges
What is an OEM Cartridge?
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Examples of these are HP, Canon, Lexmark among many others. OEMs manufacturer their own products with an associated part #. We use the OEM part #s as references to make it easier for you to order the correct product.
What are Refilled Cartridges?
Refilled cartridges are printer cartridges that have been refilled with new ink or toner by printer cartridge owners or shops. Homeowners can refill their cartridges by buying refill kits.
While refill kits are the most economical option please be aware that this option has limited ability to ensure a high quality end result and more often than not ends up in frustration and a big mess. Some of the limitations include; worn or end of life-cycle components in your printer cartridge are not replaced, contamination of ink due to the new ink mixing with the remaining old ink, contamination caused by overfilling and lastly the frequent but potentially catastrophic impact of air bubbles which are pushed into the cartridge by the syringe (air bubbles prevent print heads from printing.
Due to this inability to provide consistent high quality results, A Greener Refill does not sell refill kits. Instead, AGR removes your frustrations and wasted time by only selling high quality remanufactured cartridges at a substantial cost savings from the OEMs.
What are Refurbished / Reused / Remanufactured Cartridges?
These types of cartridges are produced from existing printer cartridges that have been reused and/or repaired. All cartridges as part of the quality control process are examined, cleaned and tested to ensure only the best cartridges are released into the final production phase.
Reuse is the key here – It’s better to “REUSE” an already manufactured cartridge. Less waste, energy and petroleum are used in the remanufacturing of cartridges as compared to the manufacturing of brand new OEM cartridges or even the formal recycling of a cartridge.
This “REUSE” is the premise for A Greener Refill’s operating model.
What are Recycled Cartridges?
These cartridges are made from reworked waste. Many times the cartridge core is manufactured using the ground up plastic from old printer cartridges. While this is MUCH better than having a cartridge sit in a landfill for 1000yrs, it does require more energy, produces more emissions/waste and uses up more natural resources then “reusing” the core cartridge as stated above.
What are Virgin Cartridges?
These cartridges have the worst impact on the environment. Virgin cartridges (i.e. like the ones you get with your new printer which are manufactured from the actual OEMs) are produced from new raw materials, which demand much energy during production while creating new waste when they are empty.
Example: An average toner cartridge, used in laser printers, faxes and copiers is made of 40% plastic requiring up to 1 gallon (3.7 liters) of oil. The rest of the cartridge consists of 40% metal and smaller amounts of rubber, paper, foam and toner.
New to Using Remanufactured Cartridges
Will using a remanufactured cartridge void my printer warranty?
Absolutely NOT!!! The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act made it illegal for any OEMs to strictly require the use of their ink cartridges as a condition of the warranty. A Greener Refill only uses high quality inks and rigid remanufacturing processes that will not cause damage to your printer.
Same page yield from a remanufactured cartridge as compared to new OEM cartridge?
Page yield is dependent on what you are printing. You will obviously be able to print more pages with simple text and less with graphics/picture filled pages. The answer to the question is that the same amount of high quality ink (and in some cases more) is used in A Greener Refills cartridges as with the OEMs. So which makes more sense 1) spend a lot of money on an original cartridge and not be able to print anymore pages than a refilled cartridge, or 2) Buy an A Greener Refill cartridge for a substantial cost savings and the equivalent amount of pages as with the expensive OEM cartridge?
How many times can an ink cartridge be refilled?
This depends on the cartridge. Many can be filled 3 to 4 times while others up to 10+ times. To increase the likelihood of your cartridge staying in the reuse channel and resulting in successful remanufacturing please read the “What steps can I take to help keep my cartridges in a reusable condition?”
What steps can I take to help keep my cartridges in a reusable condition?
Remember, reuse is the highest form of recycling, so whether you are having your cartridges refilled and keeping them for yourself or are giving them away to be remanufactured/refilled, there are a few things you can do to help the success rate.
- Never print until ALL the ink is gone. You should watch your printouts and when your print quality becomes noticeably poor, STOP printing and replace your cartridge. If you print until your cartridge is completely out of ink you run the risk of burning out the print heads on the cartridge, thereby rendering the cartridge completely unusable.
- Always store your ink cartridges (whether full or empty) with the print heads facing down. This allows them to stay moist and prevent dried ink from clogging the print heads.
- If your ink cartridge came with a clip, placing the cartridge back into the clip also helps prevent the print heads from drying out. If you do not have a clip place your cartridge in a sealed plastic bag.
- Protect the copper electronics area of your cartridge. If this area becomes scratched, dented, etc. your cartridge may become unusable. The same clips that prevent the print heads from drying out are also used to protect the copper electronics also.
Using Remanufactured Cartridges
Why does my printer no longer show the ink levels?
When using remanufactured ink cartridges some printers disable the ink level monitors. OEMs have created pieces of software contained within the printer and cartridge which do not let the remanufacturer reset the ink counters thereby showing the cartridge as empty. Sometimes a pop-up window shows up on your computer screen telling you the printer ink is empty (see the Troubleshooting section below on how to handle these), but this by no means prevents the printer from printing and providing quality output. While some people like the nice visual a better gauge for when it is time to replace your cartridge is based on actual print quality. As you print, watch for the gradual fading or other inferior print quality signs.
Why Recycle Printer Cartridges?
Save landfill space and tax dollars. Each year over 375 million empty ink and toner cartridges are thrown away with most ending up in landfills or in incinerators.
To put this in perspective the 375 million cartridges per year amount to disposal of:
- 1,000,000 cartridges per day
- 11 cartridges per second.
- 375 million cartridges put end-to-end would circle the earth over three times.
And remember, this is a single year.
This mountain of waste can be reduced through reuse and recycling. Yet approximately 70% of all ink cartridges and 50% of all toner cartridges are still not recycled. Things are continuously changing for the better with pressure from legislation, environmental awareness among consumers and a more mature recycling industry.
The plastics used in printer cartridges are made of an engineering grade polymer that have a very slow decomposing rate ranging between 450 to 1000 years depending on the cartridge type. Ink cartridges may also leak printer ink polluting the surrounding environment.
The recovery, reuse and recycling of all these empty printer cartridges will save tax dollars since we all pay taxes for landfills through waste management costs.
Help conserve natural resources:
By recycling printer cartridges, we conserve natural resources and energy by reducing the need for virgin materials. Up to 97 percent of the materials that make up a printer cartridge can be recycled or reused if taken care of. Printer cartridges can in extreme cases be refilled up to 15 times before reaching the end of their life most though averaging between 5-7 refills.
Health, environment, and sustainability all demand the recycling of empty ink cartridges. Some of the important facts and statistics that speak for recycling cartridges are listed here.
Disposing ink cartridges into garbage can cause great harm to environment and miniature life. It has been studied that the plastics used in inkjet cartridges can take over ten centuries to decompose naturally. Acute health hazards associated with unsafe disposal of ink cartridges include irritation, redness, and swelling of skin; irritation of eyes; stomach upset (if the harmful material is ingested); irritation of the respiratory tract (in case of prolonged inhalation). Most importantly, carbon black has been classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
More than three quarts of oil are consumed in producing each new laser cartridge. For manufacturing a new inkjet cartridge, about three ounces of oil are required. Recycling helps lower this cost to a considerable degree. An estimated quantity of over 11 million gallons of oil can be saved in only seven months by ink cartridge recycling.
In North America, more than 40,000 tons of plastic and metal is saved from landfills annually as a result of cartridge recycling. For every 100,000 used cartridges recycled, we can save 9599 kilograms of aluminum, 40 tons of plastic, and 1 000 000 liters of oil. Ink cartridge recycling has virtually become synonymous with successful sustainable development. The process of recycling comprises returning empty ink cartridges to the recycling company. These cartridges are usually separated into their component materials and then recycled. While cartridge recycling is free and even wins the consumer a few bucks, recycling hardware as discarded printers can cost the consumer a small shipping and handling fee.
How do I reduce my printing footprint?
While it might seem strange that a company which makes a living by selling ink and toner cartridges would discuss how to print less. A Greener Refill looks at it from a different point of view. A Greener Refill truly believes in reducing the overall footprint of the printing industry and its product line is fully in tune with this concept. If the consumer is aware of the various options out there and understands the impact of each, we are confident that more and more people will start buying remanufactured cartridges while still reducing the amount they print.
With this said, here are a few ways you can both decrease the amount of ink and toner you use AND reduce the amount of paper you use.
Print Only What You Need
How many times have you print out an entire document or website when all you were interested in was a certain section? Why not consider printing only that particular section? You can do this by highlighting the specific areas you need. Then, when you select print, check the “Selection” box before continuing with your printing.
Print in Draft Mode
Usually the printer manufacturers set the print quality default mode to “best” or “high quality” (which makes sense since these manufacturers want to showcase the quality of their printers). The catch is that this “high quality” mode uses a lot of ink. For print outs which don’t need such high quality you can use the printer’s “draft mode.” Draft mode printouts are generally lighter in tone, allowing your printer to use much less ink than it otherwise would. So, unless your document needs to be of the highest quality consider using draft mode to conserve both black and color ink cartridges.
Use Print Preview
Another very easy way to reduce many extra pages from being printed is to utilize your Print Preview option. This option will show you exactly what pages are being printed and will help you greatly reduce the amount of black printer ink you use (and paper).
Print using less color
Only print in color when necessary. Printing web pages are a good example when you are only interested in the text, but there are color pictures/advertisements/etc. which you don’t care about the color. Your printer properties should have a black and white only option.
Use Black for Black
You might not be aware of this, but your color cartridge has the capabilities of printing the color black. This might sound great, but not when you consider how much ink is used to print black from a color cartridge. So, when your black cartridge runs out of ink be sure to replace it as soon as possible since many printers will automatically use your color ink cartridge to make black ink.
To help you avoid running out of ink and toner A Greener Refill offers discounts on multiple cartridge purchases (discounts are clearly shown for each cartridge prior to checkout).
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Try using our “easy search” feature to search by printer. Or, type in your cartridge information. Example (all valid search criteria for same cartridge): C8721WN, C8721, 02, 02XL.
What do I do if my ink cartridge is not recognized?
- Make sure there is nothing obstructing the print cartridges electronics (blue tape or other debris). Wipe cartridge electronics and print heads (gently) with a lint free cloth.
- If still not recognized, remove cartridge from printer, POWER OFF the printer, remove power cord and any other cables for up to 2 minutes, POWER ON the printer, reinstall the cartridge, then run the head cleaning cycle.
What to do about poor print Quality?
In general, the first step to take in troubleshooting poor print quality is to run your printer’s cleaning cycle up to 3 times. Also, remove your print cartridges and visually inspect the now empty socket (called the cartridge carrier) for paper fiber or other debris. You can use a can of pressurized air to blow out the inside of the printer. Please check your printer’s user manual for any printer specific troubleshooting tips.
NOTE: The below troubleshooting steps are only for ink cartridges which have a copper portion on the bottom of the cartridge (called the Print Head). Any step which requires wiping/wetting the print heads will not work on certain Epson, Canon and Brother ink cartridges as some of their cartridges do not have print heads on the ink cartridges (they are actually contained in the printer itself).
Faded or light Print
a. Print head not primed (ink needs to be pulled into the print head)
- Run the printers “Clean Printheads” option (refer to your printer’s owner manual for directions). If this does not fix the issue then the next two steps require you to remove your cartridge.
- Lightly wet a paper towel and with the print heads facing down firmly press the paper towel onto the print heads and hold for 5 seconds. You should see a “footprint” (either a black rectangle/blotch of ink or a rectangle/blotch of the 3 colors of ink – cyan, magenta, yellow.)
- If you do not see a “footprint”, place cartridge with the print heads facing down on a wet paper towel for 5 minutes (Please be aware that the ink will bleed through the paper towel and possibly stain whatever is underneath. It is recommended to put the paper towel on something like tin foil).
- Reinstall the cartridge and run the “Clean Printheads” option.
b. Print quality settings – Draft Mode – check your printer settings to see if you are printing in “draft mode.” This mode purposefully uses less ink resulting in light print.
c. Cartridge ink is low or empty – As your print cartridge becomes very low or empty it is normal to start seeing poor print quality, or no print at all. Replace your cartridge with a newly remanufactured cartridge.
Lines and/or Streaky print
a. Print head clogged (dried ink) – run the printers “Clean Printheads” option (refer to your printer’s owner manual for directions). If this does not fix the issue then the next two steps require you to remove your cartridge.
- Lightly wet a paper towel and gently wipe any dried ink or other debris off the print heads.
- With the print heads facing down lightly press the paper towel onto the print heads and hold for 5 seconds. You should see a “footprint” (either a black rectangle/blotch of ink or a rectangle/blotch of the 3 colors of ink – cyan, magenta, yellow)
- Reinstall the cartridge into the printer and run the “Clean Printheads” option.
- If this didn’t fix the problem put the cartridge with print heads facing down on a wet paper towel for up to 5 minutes (Please be aware that the ink will bleed through the paper towel and possibly stain whatever is underneath. It is recommended to put the paper towel on something like tin foil).
- Reinstall the cartridge and run the printer cleaning cycle.
b. Printer carrier dirty (paper debris or ink)
- Take an old cloth and wipe out any debris or ink. Do not use paper towel as this can cause more debris inside your carrier.
What to do if my print colors are mixed (Cross Contamination)?
Many times the contamination is contained within the printhead and not in the cartridge ink well.
- Remove the cartridge. Lightly wet a paper towel and gently wipe any dried ink or other debris off the print heads.
- With the print heads facing down lightly press the paper towel onto the print heads and hold for 5 seconds. You should see a “footprint” (a rectangle/blotch of the 3 colors of ink – cyan, magenta, yellow). This blotch should show the three distinctive colors.
- If this didn’t fix the problem put the cartridge with print heads facing down on a wet paper towel for up to 5 minutes (Please be aware that the ink will bleed through the paper towel and possibly stain whatever is underneath. It is recommended to put the paper towel on something like tin foil). Reinstall the cartridge and run the printer cleaning cycle.
- Reinstall the cartridge into the printer and run the “Clean Printheads” option.
- If this still does not fix the problem then the contamination is within the ink well and cannot be fixed without the proper equipment. If your cartridge was purchased from A Greener Refill, this type of failure would be covered under our 100% Guarantee/Warranty.