Recycle Your Used Ink Jet Cartridges And Old Cell Phones

José M. Serrano

January 07, 2008

With new times come new electronics. The beginning of the New Year may signal the end of the usefulness of some of your old things. Perhaps you received a new cell phone as a holiday gift. Did your printer cartridges run out from all those holiday cards you printed? Chances are you haven't thought twice about what to do with with your electronic waste.

"Don't throw them away," said State Senator Jose M. Serrano (D-Bronx/Manhattan). "Recycle them.

"Only 20 to 40 percent of ink jet cartridges end up being recycled. The rest end up in local landfills, taking up valuable space for a long, long time," the Senator said. "It takes 1,000 years for an ink jet cartridge to biodegrade. And that has a significant impact on our environment. Recycled cartridges can be reused, refilled and resold to customers at a lower price."

It is easy to keep empty cartridges out of the landfills.

"Many companies provide postage-free packaging or printable labels you can use to send empty cartridges back to the manufacturer," he said. "Some post offices offer small plastic envelopes where you can place your used cartridge, seal it up and drop it in the mail. You can also search the Internet for places that accept cartridges for cash and offer free shipping in the process."

Another way to recycle old ink jet cartridges is to donate them to charity.

"Recycling old cartridges is one innovative way that schools, church groups, sports teams, and clubs and organizations are raising cash for special projects," said Senator Serrano. "Calling your local school or any other non-profit organization is a great way to find out who might be willing to take them off your hands."

Old, unused cell phones should also be recycled.

"According to the EPA, 125 million cell phones are discarded every year, with many of them sharing space with used ink jet cartridges in local landfills," the Senator said. "These phones, if recycled, can literally do a world of good."

He also spoke of a nonprofit organization called Call2Recycle, which directs consumers with old phones to local drop boxes, simply by entering their zip code on the website ( 

"These unwanted phones can also be used to save lives," he said. "Many organizations take old phones and reprogram them for use by those in need. The Secure the Call Foundation (1-888-88DONATE/1-888-883-6628; or, for example, provides refurbished, 911-enhanced cell phones to domestic violence victims and senior citizens. What better way to bring new life to used phones than by donating them to help save a life?"

Regardless of how you recycle your used ink jet cartridges or cell phones you're doing your part in helping the environment.

"Every cartridge or phone recycled or donated is one less unit in a landfill," Senator Serrano said. "You'll be saving space, as well as tax dollars that would otherwise go toward additional land management. It's become second nature to recycle bottles, cans, plastic and paper. Recycling inkjet cartridges and cell phones should be just as natural."