Getting Good Quality Printer Cartridge Refills is Easy
If you’ve been paying any significant attention at all over the last several
years, you’ve undoubtedly heard or seen advertisements for businesses that
promise to save you money on printer ink cartridges. Specifically, by
letting you refill the ink once it runs out, rather than forcing you to buy
an entirely new cartridge. A quick Google search turns up tons of options,
high-profile places like Walgreen’s, and many others with instructions on
how to do it yourself. And it’s easy to see why that idea is so attractive:
You replace the only part of the cartridge that’s spent, and pay only a
fraction of the price you’d spend on a full replacement. What could possibly
be wrong with the setup?
Well for one thing, HP reps told me last week that, at least with their
products, it doesn’t work.
I know what you’re thinking. “That’s exactly what you’d expect people to say
if they work for one of the largest printer manufacturers in the world.” To
which I can only reply: Uh, yeah, you’re right. A company in HP’s position
has every reason to downplay this cost-cutting measure, so anything you hear
about it from someone at the company itself deservedly needs to be taken
with a grain of salt. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I brought my shaker
from the kitchen and put it right next to the computer.
While I was touring in cartridge recycling plant, during the typical
dog-and-pony presentation before the main event, the subject came up and our
guides were remarkably willing to discuss (and defend) their position when
we seemed (at first, anyway) to be more interested in that than in the
actual recycling process we’d been invited to witness.
Planet Green environmental program manager of the Americas Environmental
Leadership Team, explained it this way: “For example, if you have a glass
and you drink water out of it every day, as long as you wash it the quality
of the water doesn’t change. But with a cartridge, we’ve done studies that
show when you remanufacture or you refill [it], the quality does change. And
so that quality change can cause customers to reprint.”
How does the quality change, I wondered?
“Because the print heads or the nozzles on the print cartridge,” she said,
“after you’ve used them until the ink is gone in the cartridge, the quality
of those change. They’re not going to print necessarily the same way as they
did for the first run.” Gingras then touted an HP-commissioned study of
business customers that showed reprinting inspired by the resulting poor
quality offset the environmental savings of reusing or remanufacturing that
This article was published on Tuesday 26 January, 2016.