Shoppers enjoy more choices than ever today, thanks to the vast internet ecosystems of the digital age.

But not all that glitters is gold, as they say, and all that comes from China or appears on an e-commerce site is not gold either. In other words, there’s a lot of junk products out there. For this reason, it’s good that the digital age also provides a wealth of information. At the end of the web surfing day, research is more important than ever to strike that product gold.

Doing your homework is essential too when it comes to shopping for remanufactured cartridges. Often referred to as “3rd party” or “aftermarket” toner cartridges, remanufactured toner (and ink) cartridges encompass about 30 percent of the total printer cartridge market –  which in itself is a lucrative industry with 1.3 billion printer cartridges sold annually.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of remanufactured toner cartridges to find that “glittering gold” for your home or business printing.


What is a remanufactured toner cartridge?


In short, remanufactured toner cartridges are brand cartridges that have been professionally cleaned, refilled with comparable-quality toner, and tested to deliver the same print quality as the original cartridge. At least in theory, as we will find out below.

Remanufactured toner cartridges were not a “thing” 20 years ago. It’s estimated that today more than 80% of businesses use remanufactured toner cartridges of some sort.

It should be noted that there is a printer product called compatible cartridges, which also falls into the generic category. Unlike remanufactured toner cartridges, however, they are made of 100% brand new materials instead of being recycled from old ones.


The cons of remanufactured toner cartridges


As consumers, we often trust brands more than their actual products. Or more like we get comfortable with certain brands in our daily lives. That’s a key reason people buy brand name cartridges (also known as original equipment manufacturer cartridges or OEM’s). Availability is another reason, as large companies make their products more accessible both in retail and online; and they typically ensure every product is consistent.

On the other hand, the internet is full of questionable cartridge providers: companies that don’t vet their products or buy wholesale from subpar foreign entities. Inferior remanufactured ink or toner cartridges is more of a rule than the exception, sadly. The prices of these products are low, but what you get in the end is fool’s gold.

There are superb remanufactured toner cartridges out there, mind you, but you gotta pan for that type of product gold. A provider of remanufactured toner cartridges should have for you transparent standards or verifications. Also, take a deep dive into online reviews. The customer is always right, especially if he came before you after their cartridge exploded ink in their printer.

As an illustration, we provide the Color Challenge, which allows consumers to compare the quality of our ink versus that of big brands. Producing this high-quality ink and toner cartridges wasn’t easy, taking years of perfecting, but we’re proud to be where we are (and you should expect other companies to do the same).

Another issue to keep in mind is warranties. Big brand providers take care of their customers if there is a questionable product. Smaller companies might offer lesser support when it comes to returns, though. Keep in mind that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act protects your right to use remanufactured cartridges in your printer without penalty by the original manufacturer. Big brands just can’t force you to buy their toner cartridges!


The pros of remanufactured toner cartridges


In any industry, the biggest pro of moving away from any brand name to generic is the perennial “the price is right” trope. Remanufactured toner cartridges are just much cheaper.

Beyond the reality that big brands keep high overheads with marketing and research costs, brand name cartridges are overpriced because they follow the razor blade model: sell the handle cheap to lock consumers and then make up the costs by overcharging for razor cartridges. (Replace “handle” with a “printer” and “razor” cartridges with “printer” cartridges.)

The razor blade model has been very lucrative for big brands, but a source of financial frustration for businesses. According to research, the typical office worker costs their company $25 per month in printing expenses. This cost per office worker is based on normal usage by a person with access to a color printer. Therefore, every employee will cost a company about $250 per month or $3,000 per year.

Hence the interest in remanufactured toner cartridges is no surprise, as mentioned earlier. Also mentioned, the quality of remanufactured toner cartridges can be just as competitive as that of big brand ones.

Beyond price and quality, an essential advantage of remanufactured toner cartridges is sustainability.

Here are some alarming statistics on ink and toner cartridges:

  • More than 375 million empty printer cartridges end up in landfills every year (that’s more than one million a day)
  • An average printer cartridge takes about 1000 years to decompose
  • Toner and ink cartridges are classified as a potentially carcinogenic; and the toxins and heavy metals of these products contaminate water and soil with volatile organic compounds

As some have concluded, if the world’s annually discarded cartridges were stacked end-to-end, they would circle the earth twice.

Remanufactured cartridges vastly scale back the production of brand name or compatible cartridges, and thus lessen the damage to the environment. It’s as simple as that. Using our brand as another illustration, 50% of our cartridges are recycled. This means that we recycle each day more than 200 pounds of plastic, amounting to 40 tons of cartridges a year that doesn’t end up in landfills. This doesn’t even include an additional recycling program we offer clients.

If you take the journey to improved sustainability in your office, remanufactured toner cartridges are a quick and viable avenue.

The choice is yours whether to adopt remanufactured toner cartridges. Ultimately, no printer ink or cartridge toner is the same – remanufactured, compatible, or brand name. It’s all a matter of matching your needs to the benefits and costs of a printer cartridge. Then you’ll strike gold, and your budget and productivity will glitter.


Looking for high-quality ink and toner? Contact a local Cartridge World printer partner or see for yourself by taking our Color Challenge.

Leave a Reply