The escalating price of empty used ink cartridges on eBay (to recycle at Staples for Rewards $)!

  • Dang, I never thought I’d use up the last of the 300 cartridges I bought in 12/19 for $28 shippped, but here I am.
    (I did quickly overcome the shyness of marching into the store, monthly, with a zip-loc bag jammed with 20 dirty beat-up cartridges, asking to “recycle” them.) Lately the cashiers don’t even bother to count, knowing the magic number is 20.

    Now on eBay, it seems that cartridge lots like that have doubled or more.
    I do see some semi-reasonable (per-cartridge) deals on huge lots, i.e. 450, 900, etc, but I suspect any investment that way would result in Staples suddenly changing the ink rewards game rules.

    Any leads out there on a low-cost way to keep playing this game?

  • Global Moderator

    @ukedog Do you have to buy other ink cartridges to get the credits? I thought they changed the rules and now you’re required to specifically buy $x in ink every so many days.

  • @orthros True, $30 bucks worth from Staples every 6 months (and rewards $ don’t help). Not a show stopper for me. They even have 30% back in rewards offers for ink purchases, which makes that semi-annual sting a little less painful.
    Btw I don’t even resell the Staples-purchased cartridges on eBay, like some of the deal gurus here.
    I use them in my Brother inkjet for photo printing and 11x17 drawing plots.

    But the $40 monthly payout in rewards, occasionally even $80, I’ve found worthwhile. Even factoring in the annual Plus membership fee.

  • Global Moderator

    To answer your question directly: eBay is where I bought garbage bags worth of cartridges back in the old, old days with lower (or no) purchase requirements, but I also know that small and mid-sized business often still have ink vs. laser printers. You may want to hit one or two up that are near where you work/commute/live to see if there’s a win-win opportunity there. Assuming, as they say, that the juice is worth the squeeze.

  • 500 Club

    It started soon after Covid19 started. Both Staples and OD stopped taking the cartridges in-store, and the recycle center (provided by Staples for shipping) is located in the worst-hit county in California.


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