Printer Cartridge Takeback Recycling ProgramsPrinters are common appliances in our homes and businesses. While we try to eliminate printing on paper whenever possible, these devices are still an essential part of good record keeping, and they come in awfully handy when you need to print a coupon or driving directions.

Still, printers are electronics, and that means they pose a special challenge to those who would rather recycle them than throw them away. And even if your printer is still in good working condition, it’s likely that you use up an ink cartridge or two every couple of months. When you think of all the printers in homes and offices around the world, this adds up to a lot of potentially hazardous waste. Although the progress has been slow, many major printer companies now offer takeback recycling programs for ink and toner cartridges, and in some cases, the printers themselves. Here are four you should know about:

Epson recycling program

What’s accepted? Epson printers and scanners, digital cameras, laptops, computers and projectors, as well as ink and toner cartridges. Shipping materials provided? No, customers are required to provide their own shipping materials and shoulder the cost of FedEx shipping. Incentive? Although the 2010 Electronics Take Back Report Card states that Epson provides a $5 coupon in exchange for printer recycling, there is no mention of this on the official site.

Lexmark recycling program

What’s accepted? All Lexmark-branded hardware, as well as ink and toner cartridges. Shipping materials provided? No shipping materials are provided for hardware recycling, but customers are allowed to use whatever shipping materials and method they prefer. However, postage-paid shipping materials are available for mailing to those returning inkjet cartridges and toner laser cartridges. Incentive? None

Kodak trade-in and recycling program

What’s accepted? All brands of consumer model printers, in addition to digital cameras and video cameras, digital photo frames and film cameras. Shipping materials provided? Yes, prepaid shipping labels are provided. Incentive? Yes! First, list your equipment using Kodak’s instant quote system. If you accept the quote provided, you’ll be mailed a check and bonus Kodak store offer upon receipt and inspection. If your used equipment does not have a purchase value, Kodak will provide options for responsible recycling.

Canon recycling program

What’s accepted? All Canon-brand consumer products and the imageCLASS and imageFORMULA small office/home office product lines. Note: To take back old equipment, Canon uses a mailback system and charges a $12 fee. Printer ink cartridges, however, can be dropped off at any FedEx Office Print and Ship Center for free recycling. Shipping materials provided? A shipping label is provided via email once you’ve paid the recycling fee. Incentive? None