Recycling Compatible Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridges are the smaller (than a clenched fist) cartridges used in home printers. "Compatible" indicates that yours have already been refilled at least once, or were made by a company that is not the manufacturer of your printer β€” they may also be called generic / off-brand / remanufactured.

⚠️ If your empty cartridges are not compatible ink cartridges, try our main empty cartridge recycling guide instead.

Sadly, compatible ink cartridges have very little value for any charity collectors, and are often harder to dispose of as a result.

They are more likely to fail if refilled, and in many cases the costs of collecting, cleaning and refilling these empty cartridges are much more than that of making a new cartridge from scratch.

However, don't bin them! Because these are small and for home or home-office use (and thus eligible for free recycling by your council), it's very easy to find a free local recycling option.

Free Recycling Options

Here are the best recycling options for compatible ink cartridges that we've collected for you that will ensure the least impact on the environment.

Local Drop-Offs

You can take advantage of cartridge refill shops, local council recycling sites, larger supermarkets, and office supply stores.

Find Local Drop-Offs

Return to Manufacturer

Unfortunately, you cannot return compatible cartridges to the printer manufacturer's recycling scheme, as this only covers original/genuine items.

It's pretty rare for compatible manufacturers to provide an alternative free recycling scheme, but it's worth checking on Google using the name of the cartridge's manufacturer.

Return to Supplier or Retailer

Ask your supplier or retailer if they can take back your empties as a courtesy to you as their customer.

If you buy from a physical (bricks and mortar) store, they must either accept the empties in store for free recycling, or they will have to pay money towards local-council-run recycling facilities.

Why Recycle Empty Cartridges?

75% of empty cartridges in the UK are not recycled even though there are plenty of reuse and recycling options, and many of them are free and easy to use.

A typical cartridge, with its plastics and electronics, will take up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill site, but having an empty cartridge reused saves up to 2.5kg of CO2 compared to making a new cartridge from scratch. is here to help you to find and use the many services that exist locally and nationwide, and cut through the misinformation to ensure that your cartridges do not go to landfill.

Recycling By Manufacturer