Empty Cartridges = Cash

September 2, 2008

Every wonder what to do with those empty HP, Canon, Lexmark, and Dell cartridges?  Wonder if there is a way to turn them into cash?

At O-ink, we use to have a program that you could mail in your empty cartridges for cash.  However, our affiliate decided to close their doors.  Now we have started our own collection process.

The process is simple, you collect empty cartridges and then mail them into us when you feel the need.  No rush of course.  There is a small form for you to fill out, to show you how much each cartridge is possibly worth assuming it passes our inspections.  At the end of the month, we issue you a check.

The question is, how much can you earn?  Some cartridges are only worth 25 cents, while others are worth $3.

Here is the link for the program.

We recommend that you send in at least 5 or more cartridges per mailing and recommending using the USPS for the cheapest rates.


Oil prices and printer cartridge cost

May 8, 2008

Everyone and their brother/sister has been watching oil prices go up and up and up.  There seems to be no end.  With higher oil prices, means higher fuel cost, which in turns means higher prices for almost everything.  However, most people just look at the fuel prices.  Here at our St. Johns store, fuel prices are around $3.69 for unleaded today.  But what about the other products of oil, mainly, plastics.

Yes that wonderful non-degrading product we use daily is made out of oil.  I recently read an article that stated that a laser toner cartridge on average has between 1/2 to 1 gallon of oil in the creation process, while Inkjet cartridges are around 1-3 quarts.  This can add up over time.  The question is when will companies like HP, Lexmark, and Canon pass on the cost of the plastics on to consumers.  I would guess it is only a matter of time and here are the factors.

  1. Cartridges are their money makers, even for a large company like HP.  So if their margins slip, they want to keep investors happy, they would raise prices.
  2. Shipping cost have increased.  We have all seen this in food, gas, and everyday purchases.
  3. The cartridge bodies are made from plastic – Plastic is made from oil.  It only makes sense that the prices would increase.

I am GUESSING that by the end of the year, if oil prices increase like they have been, that printer cartridges could see an increase in 5-10% for OEM or brand name cartridges.

However, using recycled and refilled printer cartridges should not see as big of increase for one main reason, we are not making new cartridge bodies.  We use the shell they made and add ink to it and make it work.  Which is why I promote using refilled and recycled cartridges.  Visit our website to see all of our refilled printer cartridges.

Estimated Ink Levels

May 5, 2008

Just had a customer today return two bad color cartridges that we sold her.  The first one we got from our supplier and it was electronicly dead.  The second one was a cartridge we had just refilled in house.  She had brought the cartridge in from her printer cause it had just been emptied, 13.99 plus tax she had the same cartridge with ink in it ready to go.

Her complaint was that the one we refilled said it was empty.  I assured her it would and reminder her that according to HP, the Ink Levels are estimates only as they can not tell you the actual amount in there due to the kind of cartridge HP designed.  She still wanted her money back, even after I put it on the scale for her (showing that it was 3 grams above full).

So how do you tell how much ink is in your cartridge?  Well, if you own a Brother or Canon printer that takes the single tank cartridges, you are fine.  Canon and Brother employ an optical sensor to view the levels.  HP, Lexmark, and Dell use estimators.  These estimators go off from page count, paper used,  and quality level.  So how off can they be?  It all depends on the printer, some printers, they are right on, maybe have a error ratio of less than 5%.  Others, especially HP printers that use the 57 color and 58 photo, can be off from 70% to 100%.  While it is rare, we do get people turning in ’empty’ HP cartridges that by weight, are completely full.  Going back to the question posted above, how do you tell?  There are two main ways.

1.  Time – You have an idea on how long a cartridge should last you, couple months or a year, each person is different.  Any cartridge you put into your printer should last as long, assuming your printing habits do not change.

2.  Quality – If what you print starts to look bad, there are only two possible reasons, dirty or empty.  Most of the time it means they are empty.

What about the cartridge that O-ink sells, how do I know they are full?  Every cartridge that O-ink fills in house is weighed two times before we seal it.  Our Factory filled cartridges are weighed 3 times before they leave.  We have the full weights and empty weights for every cartridge that we have the ability to fill, so we can tell you how full your cartridge is.

New Products from O-ink

April 10, 2008

Time for a quick update with what are some of the new products we are carrying and selling both on our website or at our two stores.

Canon PGI-5 Black and CLI-8 Colors – Since Canon has came out with the PGI and CLI series of cartridges, they have jumped ahead in quality and service in many polls (PCMag.com for one). A problem for the refillers on this cartridge was the fact that Canon included a chip that recognized the cartridge. Well after being on the market for 2 years, there is now a way to reset the chips. Currently the PGI-5 Black CLI-8 Black CLI-8 Cyan CLI-8 Magenta and the CLI-8 Yellow are all in-stock. The two photo cartridges are coming soon. These are all filled to the same as the OEM cartridges and carry our one year satisfaction guarantee.

HP 74XL and 75XL – The new 74/75 series is replacing the 90 series of cartridges. Each cartridge comes in two flavors, standard and XL. While the Standard cartridge is cheaper, the XL cartridge has double the cost for triple the page yield, simply put, it is cheaper for the consumer. These are all filled to the same as the OEM cartridges and carry our one year satisfaction guarantee.

Dell 1320 Color Laser Cartridges – The Dell 1320 is a small color laser printer that runs around $300 to buy from Dell or Staples. While they do not have the best page yield, it does offer a customer a color laser printer at a low price.

Lexmark Replacement 24035/24015/34015HA/34035HA Black Laser HY – The Lexmark 24015 and 24035 are both 2500 page yield cartridges while the 34015/34035 are both 6000 page yields.  While they may look the same, they do not work in the other’s printers due to the chip.  The replacement that O-ink has are at the 6,000 page yield mark for both of them.  It will work in the following printers:

Lexmark: E230, E232, E234, E238, E240, E330, E332, E340, E342
Dell: 1700, 1700n, 1710
IBM: 1412, 1512