I’m guessing you’ve got a printer at home (or at work) that goes through some pretty serious ink. Instead of throwing away those empty ink cartridges, did you know there are ways to make money selling used ink cartridges?
Different methods of selling ink cartridges will net you varying amounts of money. We’ll show you who buys them both in-person and online.
We’re going to share some real tips on where you can make money by selling your used ink cartridges.
How to Earn Money Selling Used Ink Cartridges
You can recycle computers for money, so it only makes sense that you should be able to make money selling used ink cartridges. Besides helping you cut down on costs to run your printer, selling used ink cartridges could turn into a nice little side hustle idea.
Try these avenues for selling your used ink cartridges.
1. Sell Used Ink Cartridges on eBay
eBay seems to be the biggest market for selling used ink cartridges. People are paying anywhere between $3 and $5 each for them.
It’s important when selling the ink cartridges yourself that you use the best practices that make for selling on eBay successfully. For instance, when it comes to used ink cartridges, you’ll want to be sure to include manufacturer and model numbers.
Also, specify the color. Buyers will want to know if the cartridges are black or a particular color–or both. And add a couple of clear pictures, including photos that show the side view of the model number.
As far as pricing goes, check what other sellers are selling the type of cartridges you have for. Use previously sold and currently listed prices as a guideline for pricing your cartridges. I typically try to price just a bit below other sellers.
Don’t forget to consider shipping costs when choosing your price too. You can offer free shipping and add the shipping cost into your offer price, or keep shipping costs separate.
2. Refill Them Yourself
Some people choose to refill the ink cartridges on their own and sell them. When I looked on eBay for refilled ink cartridges for my printer, I found I could get seven of them for $19.99 with free shipping.
If I buy them at Walmart, I’ll pay as much as $9 a piece for them. Granted, refilling ink cartridges yourself can be time-consuming. However, it can be a profitable business, especially if you have access to a lot of empty ink cartridges via home use or through your business or employer.
If you’re going to sell refilled ink cartridges on eBay, be sure to practice the same useful eBay selling tips we talked about above. Also, be sure to seal and ship them safely.
3. Sell Them to TonerBuyer.com
TonerBuyer.com is a recycling company that was founded in 1984. Their website says it’s a family-owned company that’s paid out millions of dollars for empty ink cartridges and other supplies.
Using the site is easy. You simply click on the “Sell Us Your Empty Printer Cartridges” button and fill out the online ink cartridge selling form. You’ll enter your personal information, and then put the number of each type of cartridge you have in the online form.
When you’re finished, you’ll hit the “Sell Us Your Empties” button at the bottom of the page. The company will send you a prepaid shipping label, along with shipping instructions.
You’ll receive your payment within 21 days after they receive your order. Note that TonerBuyer.com only accepts certain types of empty ink cartridges. Check their website for more information.
Bonus: TonerBuyer.com promises they’ll never share your personal information.
4. Sell Them to Evolve Recycling
Evolve Recycling is a company that focuses on recycling and resale of electronic items. They’re based in Illinois and manufacture over 2 million ink cartridges per month.
Evolve has an easy turnkey program for helping you earn money by sending in your used ink cartridges. You start by going to the Evolve Recycling website and creating a free account.
Then you collect and send your empty ink cartridges to Evolve by using their free shipping label. You can either print the label out or have them sent to your home. Note that you have to have at least 20 cartridges or 20 pounds worth of cartridges before you can send them in.
Evolve will credit your account as they receive your packages. Once your balance reaches at least $25, they’ll send you a check automatically. As with TonerBuyer.com, Evolve only accepts certain types of ink cartridges.
However, the list of acceptable cartridges is quite extensive compared to other sites. Check the Evolve website for more information on the types of cartridges they’re currently accepting.
5. Get Store Credit
Another option for making money with used ink cartridges is to sell them back to office supply stores. You can check both smaller, local non-chain stores and larger chain stores to ask if they’ll give you store credit for your empty ink cartridges.
Here’s how recycling works with a couple of the larger chain office supply stores.
With the Office Depot recycling rewards program, you’ll get a $2 store credit for each empty ink cartridge you bring into a store location. Note that there are some stipulations to the Office Depot program.
You can turn in a maximum of 10 empty ink cartridges per month. Well, you can turn more in, but you’ll only get credit for 10. That equates to $20 per month in rewards.
To be eligible for the rewards, you need to make $10 in qualifying purchases at your Office Depot store during the same month. The rewards are paid out monthly and are online printable online. And they’ll only accept undamaged ink cartridges.
The Staples ink cartridge recycling program works a bit differently. You’ve got to start by spending at least $30 in ink cartridges or toner at a Staples location.
You can make your purchase at a store or online. However, you need to have made your purchase within 180 to use the recycling rewards program.
When you turn in your used ink cartridges, you’ll get a $2 store credit per empty ink cartridge. The credit will take effect at the end of the statement cycle, and you can recycle a maximum of 10 cartridges per month.
These are both good options for making money with your ink cartridges. Be sure to check with local non-chain office supply stores to see if they can get you a better deal.
6. Sell to UsRecycleInk
US Recycling, also known as USRecycleInk, will pay you up to $3-$4 each for your empty ink cartridges. And if you’re lucky enough to be able to get your hands on empty toner cartridges, they’ll pay up to $23 for empty toner cartridges.
This company offers two ways of selling empty ink cartridges. The first option is to call their customer service line and have a customer service representative talk you through the process.
The second option is to fill out their online form and upload a picture of the cartridges you have to sell. Note that you don’t have to open an account to sell to US Recycling. They try to make the process as simple as possible.
As with Evolve Recycling, you need to have a minimum of 20 pounds of cartridges or 20 units. And as of this writing, they don’t accept Epson ink cartridges or generic ink cartridges.
After the company receives your shipment, they’ll assess the order and send you your payment within two weeks.
7. Sell to NEEDEMPTY
NEEDEMPTY buys your empty ink cartridges to sell them to companies that specialize in refilling and reselling them. It’s important to note that this company has a higher minimum send-in order than the other companies listed here.
With NEEDEMPTY, you need to have a minimum of 100 empty ink cartridges or 50 empty toner cartridges in order to sell to these guys. And the ink cartridges need to be “virgin” cartridges (no, I’ve never heard that term before, either).
That means they’ll only buy empty cartridges that haven’t been refilled or refurbished before. To sell to this company, you simply need to fill out the online form on their website.
After you complete the information about the types of ink cartridges you have and enter your contact information, NEEDEMPTY assess your list. They get back to you with an offer amount within 24 hours.
If you accept their offer, they’ll send you a prepaid shipping label. You box up the cartridges, tape the label on and send them off.
The site doesn’t say anything about the process that happens after shipment. However, you would be safe in assuming it’s the standard process: the company receives the shipment, analyzes it and sends you your cash.
8. Sell to STS INKS
Another company you can sell your empty cartridges to is STS INKS. STS INKS has been in the ink technology business since 1999. You need to have a minimum of 48 empty cartridges to sell to this company.
And as with other companies, they have a specified list of cartridge types they’ll purchase. Unlike NEEDEMPTY, STS INKS will take non-virgin cartridges, i.e., cartridges that have previously been refilled.
However, they’ll only take non-virgin cartridges that have been refilled with the original manufacturer’s ink. STS INKS will send you a prepaid shipping label for your cartridges.
Once they receive the package, they’ll assess the cartridges and pay you for them. Their website says they pay up to $2 per cartridge. Other sites say they’ll pay up to $3 or $4 per cartridge, but it’s the “up to” part that leaves you guessing.
Only experience will tell you which companies pay the best. And, of course, cartridge condition and other factors make a difference in how much you can earn too.
9. Sell to Dazz-Cycle
Dazz-Cycle will buy your used ink cartridges too. However, they don’t pay cash to individuals. Instead, the company operates on a fundraising mission. They send the money they pay for the empty cartridges to your school, club or organization.
So, if you’re not necessarily in it for the money, but want to do some good, or if you run a non-profit club or organization, this could be the site for you.
The Dazz-Cycle website says they have the highest payout and fastest turnaround in the cartridge fundraising industry. Also, the company states that they pay between $0.10 and $12.00 per cartridge, with an average payout of $1.50 per cartridge.
And they say they’ll send out a check within 3 to 14 days of receiving your shipment. Note that this company will deduct $1 from your payment for any cartridge you send that is:
- Not on their approved cartridge list
- Non-virgin (previously refilled)
If you’re not detailed about what you’re collecting and sending in, making mistakes like these could potentially eat up all of your profit.
Dazz-Cycle could be a good avenue for selling used ink cartridges if you are looking to fundraise and can get a group of people involved in the collection.
You can sell or recycle ink cartridges as you use them and earn a few extra bucks. Or, if you’ve got some great sources, you can collect a lot of empty cartridges and turn reselling or recycling them into a bona fide business.
Just like recycling glass or anything else for money, recycling ink cartridges can be a solid cash cow. How much money you earn is up to you.
The takeaway here is that there is money to be made in the ink cartridge recycling field. If you have access to a lot of ink cartridges, you may want to consider getting in on this earth-friendly side hustle.