printing has become more advanced, and more people are thinking about the best ways to save
money when they print things out. These thoughts almost always end up on ink.
There are countless articles discussing the relative merits of refill kits versus new printer cartridges.
Refill kits are cheaper, but new ink cartridges are more reliable. So how is one supposed to choose?
Usually when two options seem equally good for different reasons, you must find a new
characteristic by which to judge the options – a tie breaker, essentially. So why not compare the
environmental impact of refill kits and new cartridges?
What’s the difference in general?
New ink cartridges are fairly self-explanatory. You go to the printer supply shop, pick up a package of
ink cartridges that fit your printer, pop them into your printer when you get home and then recycle
the old cartridges. Refill kits, on the other hand, include separate pots of ink for each of the four
colors needed for color printing, as well as some apparatus – usually a syringe of some sort – to get
the ink into the old ink cartridge.
Refill kits are much cheaper, since they don’t have as much packaging and they don’t need whole
new cartridges to be manufactured for them. They can be messy and are a bit of a hassle; whereas,
new printer cartridges are usually more straightforward.
Which one is more environmentally friendly?
The most notable difference between the two is the price, and that is directly related to the amount
of packaging that surrounds the ink in refill kits and new cartridges. With refill kits, you don’t throw
away the empty cartridge, which has parts which can be toxic to the environment if they are left to
biodegrade in a landfill.
The lack of plastic packaging is important from an environmental perspective as well. The
manufacturing process of new ink cartridges requires a lot of power and resources, and fewer
cartridges being made means less is being consumed. Making the plastic for new cartridges requires
petroleum, which is made from crude oil, and it releases a lot of harmful chemicals and greenhouse
gases into the air. Refill kits, meanwhile, don’t require any of the plastic packaging used in making
Moreover, you can reuse cartridges six to eight times before they need to be recycled. This means
keeping more cartridges from ending up in landfills. It also means lowering the demand for new
cartridges to be made and less energy is being spent shipping those new cartridges to stores or
directly to customers.
But here’s the catch.
Just as it seems a certainty that only refills are eco-friendly, it turns out that manufacturers have
been working to create more environmentally responsible inks and toners. Xerox announced the
development of a toner that releases fewer carbon emissions during production and that uses less
energy than normal toners when printing.
For now, however, it is probably best to continue to use refill kits when you run out of ink. After all,
it’s cheaper and better for the planet, so what’s to lose?
About the Author: This article comes from Clickinks, an online distributor of discount ink cartridges
that carries a full range of products for the top 25 printer brands on the market. Visit Clickinks.com
to find the right ink and toner to suit your printing needs, whether you're looking for Brother ink
cartridges, such as brother lc61 ink and brother lc51 ink, or any other brand!