Look, it’s a printer cartridge! So what? Just another mundane office supply that will serve its purpose and then die a forgettable death.

This may be the reaction of many people at the office, but it’s not a wise one. Printer cartridges are complex devices built with complex technology.

In a past article, we provided these eye-opening statistics about ink and toner:

  • Each ink nozzle in a printer cartridge is 1/7th the diameter of a human hair
  • The average toner cartridge contains more than 80 components
  • An inkjet cartridge can fire more than 1,120 ink droplets simultaneously per second

Printer cartridges are also not cheap, and I’m sure you know this by now. But to gain more perspective, know that printer ink costs an average of 50 dollars an ounce (much more than gasoline, which costs four cents an ounce).

Printer cartridges are not mundane office supplies, to say the least, but objects that Elon Musk would want to both study and invest in!

Therefore, it’s a good idea to give your ink and toner printer cartridges care, especially when considering that well-maintained cartridges usually lead to smoothly running printers.

Here are some suggestions.


Storing printer cartridges


We recommend that all our ink and toner products are stored at temperatures between -4 Fahrenheit and 104 Fahrenheit. These specifications may seem not important to printer cartridge care — or not apply to workspaces outside of Santa’s workshop or Sauron’s lair — but we’ve seen mechanic and manufacturer clients wonder why their cartridges exploded or don’t work when stored in shop closets on a hot summer day.

Also, printer cartridges should avoid sunlight and humidity, stored on level surfaces, and only leave their packaging right before it’s their time to heroically serve the printer.


Installing printer cartridges


Obviously, there are many ways to insert ink and toner into an imaging device. Instructions should always be available in the product packaging.

Here is one of our videos that provides a visual on how to install a printer cartridge:



Printer cartridge issues


Sometimes a printer cartridge will dry up if there is a considerable pause in printing — no need to have Elon Musk drive up in a Tesla to fix it.

We suggest, first, obtaining two pieces of paper towels, one damp and one wet. Take out your ink cartridge and blot it onto the damp paper towel a few times – with the printhead side down. After blotting the printhead, hold the cartridge against a dry paper towel for about 30 seconds to a minute. This action should dissipate the dried ink clogging the head. Repeat this process if you’d like, and then slide the cartridge back into your printer and run a test print.

It should be noted that using paper towels only works with integrated cartridge heads, and not with the type that utilizes cartridges that pop into a printhead built into the printer.

Regardless, don’t forget that many printers today have a clean cycle or can warn you if the issue goes beyond a congested printhead. And it’s always sensible to open your printer and check inside for any jammed or broken parts.


Prolong your printer cartridges


This might even confound Elon Musk, but printing regularly keeps your cartridges primed (and avoids those clogs we just addressed).

To get the most out that Tesla-priced toner and give your cartridge care, we also recommend these tips:

  • Print in draft mode mundane documents like emails or meeting notes.
  • Restrict color printing to only necessary documents like graphics or marketing collaterals (printing in color typically costs five to seven times more than printing in monochrome).
  • Update to the latest software and drivers as often as possible. This will keep your printer in a good working condition and reduce stress to your printer cartridges.
  • Turn off your printer when you can — like at the end of the workday or beginning of a holiday — as it’s always churning out heat that can eventually dry up cartridges. As a bonus, turning off your printing saves money; statistics state that printer power consumption can account for up to seven percent of an organization’s total electricity consumption.

Lastly and very important: just like your car (or Elon Musk’s Tesla), the low indicator on a printer doesn’t mean it’s going empty at any second. With most printing devices, the indicator appears when there is approximately 20 percent toner left in the cartridge tank. Therefore, ride that cartridge hard until it’s empty, although an indicator is always a good warning to make sure you’re stocked with a backup.


Give your printer cartridges a good funeral (recycle!)


Every year more than 375 million empty printer cartridges end up in landfills – which amounts to approximately one million cartridges every day. Take into account too that an estimated 1.3 billion printer cartridges are sold each year. Making things worse, your average printer cartridge takes about 1000 years to decompose.

Check our video on the effects of printing on the environment:


In short, recycle and recycle.

Of course, recycling is not an easy task for many office products. When it comes to printer products, though, you can proactively recycle by leveraging third-party or remanufactured cartridges. We’re proud that a large amount of our ink and toner cartridges are recycled (as well as proud of our recycling program). Furthermore, statistics say that remanufactured ink or toner cartridges have a 46 percent lower carbon footprint than a new cartridge.

Whether you’re a Silicon Valley tycoon or an office manager, taking care of your printer cartridges leads to fewer printer interruptions and improved budget. It doesn’t take that much work either. So please embrace these suggestions and then pop open the bubbly – especially when you realize that an ounce of luxury champagne is cheaper than an ounce of printer ink!


Need quality ink and toner at costs below big brand cartridges? With free delivery for business customers? Contact a local Cartridge World today.

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