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Many In Raleigh Area Save Money By Recycling Inkjet Cartridges

Beth McIntire for the Raleigh Technology Examiner

High prices on inkjet printer cartridges have chased many consumers away from new cartridges and toward recycled ones. Most people who try reputable refill or recycling services seem thrilled with the cost savings.

Raleigh-area human resources professional Debbie Smolen says, “I use Rapid Refill ink. I have never had a problem and it is more economical than anything else I have used.”

Another area resident, Mark Bodner says, “I’ve used a number of different companies, based on where I was living. They all have performed as advertised, saving me at least 40% on ink. I only get refills from these places now.”

The most prevalent inkjet refill company in the area, Rapid Refill, has four Raleigh-area franchise locations – one in northeast Raleigh near Triangle Town Center mall, one in northwest Raleigh on Alexander Promenade Place, one in Cary on N.W. Maynard, and one on Kildaire Farm Rd. in Apex. Their stores offer cartridges from major brands such as HP, Brother, Epson, Canon and Lexmark. Rapid Refill doesn’t exactly refill your cartridge, though. They take your empty cartridge and sell you a recycled one off their shelves.

Raleigh Rapid Refill store manager Dylan Warner says this method means no wait time plus better quality for the consumer. “Rather than refill an empty cartridge one at a time as customers bring them in,” says Warner, “we keep a well-stocked inventory of cartridges that have already been cleaned, refilled, and tested. All cartridges are completely cleaned, removing any old ink from sponges and printheads, before they are refilled to eliminate quality problems and to make sure they will hold as much ink as possible. After being refilled, each cartridge is tested.”

Warner adds that Rapid Refill has been in Raleigh since 2006 and has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, offering a 60-day window for refund or exchange.

Warner goes on to say that store employees educate customers that in some cases, a refilled cartridge may cause the printer to show an error message, though it will still print. According to Warner, “Actual defects are very low. Most of our inkjet cartridges are remanufactured in-house, and that allows for very strict quality control on our part.” He says that customers typically save 30% to 50% off what they’d pay for a new cartridge in a big box store. Also, “by recycling and reusing these cartridges, we are greatly reducing the amount of fossil fuels used in production. We are also saving literally tons of plastic from ending up in local landfills.”

Another option for refilling is Walgreens. Their photo centers refill name brand inkjet cartridges for $12.99. They offer refills for cartridges from Dell, HP, Lexmark, Okidata, Primera, Sharp, and Xerox printers, but not Canon and Epson.

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