How To Earn Money for a Cause—With Your Used Cartridges

by Rich on April 19, 2010

Recycled Ink Cartridges

Whether you’re helping your third grade class raise money for its next field trip or organizing your big nonprofit’s yearly fundraising drive, you can earn more money for your organization—by collecting used ink cartridges. Here’s how it works.

Who Pays for Your Used Cartridges?

Some recycling companies collect your used cartridges—and will pay you for every cartridge you send in. Then they usually sell the cartridges to companies that recycle them and sell them as third-party used cartridges.

Each one works slightly differently. Sometimes, the charity gets all the profit from the sale of the used cartridges. Sometimes they get most, with a small amount going to the company. Some companies pay you directly—and then sell the cartridges on their own. Some will even pay your postage—or send a car round to pick up your haul.

A few companies that do this kind of work include Cartridges 4 Charity [http://www.cartridges4charity.co.uk/] and Empty Cartridge [http://www.emptycartridge.co.uk/]. Do an online search for “cartridge recycling for charity” in your area, and check with the programs that look like they might be the best fit for you.

You can also sell your cartridges directly to remanufacturers who repurpose old cartridges to sell again online. You may have to pay postage, but if you find a company that will give you enough money to make a profit for your organization above the overhead costs, it’s still a good investment. These companies usually pay more per cartridge than middleman organizations.

How Can You Get the Word Out?

Once you have a partner for your cartridge recycling drive and know how much you can make for each cartridge you collect, you’re ready to start the fundraising drive. Here are a few ideas for collecting old cartridges for recycling.

Partner with some local stores. Check with some local electronics and business supply stores that sell ink and toner cartridges in your area. Some of them may be willing to allow you to set up a collection point inside the store for shoppers to deposit their used cartridges.

Check with local businesses. Businesses use plenty of cartridges internally—so having your organization’s members check with their employers—and their families’ employers—to see if they will let them collect used cartridges for recycling can get some results. Recycling cartridges is a good move for businesses—it can back up a green reputation if they’ve been trying to build one. Check with your place of work and have your members do the same. If you’re raising money for a school, have the kids ask their parents to check with the companies where they work.

Write a press release. Once you know where your collection points will be, write a press release about your program and distribute it to local news outlets. Focus your angle on raising money through recycling, and be sure to include information on where people can bring individual cartridges for recycling—as well as how businesses can sign up to participate with your program.

Write a web page. If your organization already has a website, make sure it includes information about your recycling drive. Include information on what projects the proceeds will fund and how people and businesses can get involved. If you write a press release or do any other publicity, make sure your website address is included as a place where people can get more information.

Write letters. Send out letters to your organization’s mailing list, making sure everyone in your community base knows about the drive. Include information on where they can drop off their cartridges, the types of cartridges accepted, and how they can get involved—either by contributing money or time or by enlisting the help of their own places of work.

Recycling used printer ink cartridges can be a great way to earn money for your cause. Many cartridge recycling companies only accept cartridges in bulk—and if you can collect enough cartridges, you can take advantage of their recycling programs. Find a company that will pay for your used cartridges, set up collection points, and then let the public know—and you should be able to earn a decent amount of money for your organization, school, or nonprofit.

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