When you purchased your copier or printer from the business, the installer or salesperson probably warned you in dire tones that it would be disastrous to purchase or use any toner cartridges aside from the original equipment manufacturer cartridges. They might say that it would void your warranty, that it would break your expensive equipment, or that it simply isn’t safe – or even illegal – to use anything but OEM cartridges.
The truth is, U.S. law says once you have purchased your printer, you can do as you please with it. That includes using remanufactured printer cartridges, which have been found by reputable entities to be an economical choice for businesses and individuals.
Let’s go over some of these myths and misconceptions about remanufactured toner cartridges and learn the real truth to help you save money for your business and be a part of the effort to create less plastic.
Need to get to the point? Head to the TLDR:
Are Remanufactured Toner Cartridges Worth Buying?
The contemporary myth states that remanufactured ink cartridges are not as good as OEM cartridges and won’t work as well in your printer. The truth is, remanufactured models have been shown to exceed OEM printer cartridges in quality, output, and price.
In a comparison of OEM cartridges and remanufactured toner cartridges, PC World and the Rochester Institute of Technology found that all of the remanufactured cartridges produced more printed work than the OEM cartridges. They tested inkjet printers from Canon, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, and Lexmark, using brand-name and third-party ink and toner cartridges.
Their results showed that all of the remanufactured ink cartridges cost less, yielded more printed products per cartridge, and most of them produced better-quality prints that were more resistant to fading. You read that right. Not only are remanufactured printer cartridges more economical than OEM cartridges, but they also produce high-quality prints that better resist fading.
So, based on the results from a respected research university and tech publication, yeah. Totally worth it!
Is it Safe to use Remanufactured Toner Cartridges?
Despite the fact that most original equipment manufacturers would like you to believe your printer will fail catastrophically should you use a remanufactured ink cartridge, the truth is that most third-party cartridges are quality products.
Replacement ink/toner cartridges that have been remanufactured are essentially rebuilt OEM cartridges. They are examined to ensure that the cartridge shell is in good condition, and then each cartridge is thoroughly cleaned in a controlled, dust-free environment. The cartridge shells are then reassembled with new pieces that aid in cartridge operation. The amount to which parts are replaced will vary, and there will be additional changes in how an ink cartridge is remanufactured vs a toner cartridge. However, remanufactured cartridges typically have some or all of the following parts replaced:
- Drum, springs, wiper blades, and a microprocessor are all part of a toner cartridge.
- Ink cartridge components include a sponge, sealant (to prevent ink leakage), and a microchip.
Remanufactured cartridges will fit properly into your printer because they are made from recycled OEM casings.
Printheads will not be clogged by off-brand cartridges. While compatible and remanufactured ink cartridges may have slightly different ink mixes than OEM ink cartridges, they are typically constructed with the same components. Printer ink is printer ink, and using a replacement cartridge would not clog your device’s printheads in the same way that using OEM cartridges would. This is because printheads are blocked by usage and neglect rather than by the components in ink.
The simplest method to avoid having to deal with blocked printheads is to maintain your printer properly. One technique to lessen the likelihood of blocked printheads is to use your printer on a regular basis. Some experts suggest printing every few days, or at least once a week.
Are Remanufactured Ink Cartridges Illegal?
The common myth here is that it’s somehow illegal to use a printer cartridge from a third-party company. Printer companies make bank selling inexpensive printers and then selling replacement cartridges at astronomical prices. While they surely would like you to believe you have to stick with them no matter what, the truth is, the law is on the side of the consumer.
Per the U.S. Supreme Court ruling from May 30, 2017, in the case of Impression Products, Inc., vs. Lexmark International, Inc., printer companies cannot require you to use their OEM cartridges after you purchase one of their printers. Basically, the Supreme Court enforced the “exhaustion doctrine,” which means once you have purchased a company’s printer, you can do whatever you want with it. You can go “Office Space” on it, though it’s not very cost-effective. You can also purchase remanufactured toner cartridges as much as you would like because printer companies by law can’t make you buy their overpriced toner cartridges.
The makers of your equipment are likewise prohibited by law from mandating the use of OEM ink or toner or charging additional costs if you use anything other than OEM products with their equipment. These restrictions and/or payments violate current antitrust laws:
- The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914
- IBM vs. The United States
- The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890
The Supreme Court ruled in IBM vs. the United States that IBM couldn’t threaten clients with the termination of their data processing equipment leases simply because they didn’t use IBM supplies. This behavior formed a tying agreement and was determined to be illegal under the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts.
Does Using Remanufactured Toner Void My Warranty?
For businesses or individuals who have spent a pretty penny on copiers and printers, keeping the warranty in case the machine needs servicing is important. It’s understandable that they would be worried about using third-party printer cartridges or toner cartridges if it did void their warranty. Luckily, U.S. law is on the side of the consumer in this case as well.
Consumer rights are protected by statutes such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. According to Magnuson-Moss, a manufacturer cannot invalidate a product’s warranty due to the usage of aftermarket consumables like ink and toner cartridges.
Toner cartridges that have been remanufactured are considered aftermarket products and will not affect your printer’s warranty.
Do Remanufactured Ink Cartridges Help the Environment?
Ok, so this isn’t a common myth so much as something we think you ought to know. Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill. And every year, 350 million ink cartridges get thrown into landfills around the earth.
The good news is that recycling and remanufacturing ink cartridges helps slow down that massive amount of plastic getting thrown away. Almost all of the materials in a printer cartridge are able to be recycled or reused.
Recycling old printer cartridges saves energy and natural resources, which reduces the demand for raw materials to create new ones. We can save 9599 kilos of aluminum, 40 tons of plastic, and 1,000,000 gallons of oil for every 100,000 recycled print cartridges.
There are several ways to recycle your used ink cartridges.
- Dropping off cartridges at your local office supply store is an easy choice. Many office supply stores will gladly accept your discarded ink cartridges. Simply contact or visit their website to find out if they accept ink and toner cartridges.
- You may also locate a nearby recycling site by going to Earth911.com, inputting the material to be recycled, and entering your zip code. The website will provide you with a list of recycling centers in your region.
- Another alternative is to check into a program that offers you money back or contributes money to charity in exchange for recycling cartridges.
- Finally, consider refilling your original brand ink cartridges. Many cartridges may be refilled 4-6 times before they need to be discarded.
- Remanufactured ink and toner cartridges are cheaper, produce more printed products, and most have better print quality than Original Equipment Manufacturer print cartridges.
- Remanufactured toner cartridges use the OEM casing so they will fit your printer. The ink they hold won’t clog your printer.
- Using remanufactured cartridges doesn’t void your warranty.
- Using remanufactured toner cartridges is legal. Printer companies can’t force you to do anything after the purchase of the printer.
There are quite a few common misconceptions about printer cartridges that have somehow persisted in the last few decades. Despite the tenacity of these incorrect beliefs, a few things are provably true: It is legal to use remanufactured ink and toner cartridges, doing so doesn’t void your warranty, third-party ink cartridges are usually cheaper, produce more, and produce better quality than OEM cartridges, and despite common myth, they won’t clog your printer. And purchasing recycled print cartridges helps reduce the amount of plastic going into landfills every year. Honestly, with the evidence in front of your eyes, it seems like the best and most economical decision for your business or your household to look into remanufactured ink cartridges. Learn more about your remanufactured print cartridge options here.