There are 2 types of cartridges on the market: original printer cartridges and compatible or generic printer cartridges.
Original cartridges are primarily produced by printer manufacturers (e.g. HP, Lexmark, Canon, etc.).
Compatible cartridges are not produced by the manufacturer of your printer but are designed to work seamlessly with it. They must comply with the intellectual property rights of the original manufacturer. Cartridges may include either new compatibles or reconditioned cartridges, commonly referred to as "remanufactured" cartridges. The latter are manufactured from empty original cartridges which are refilled with ink or toner powder.
Here are five good reasons to use remanufactured cartridges for all your printing needs:
1. A more cost-effective solution
It costs less to remanufacture a printer cartridge. In fact, the cost of the raw materials used and of the energy consumed during manufacturing is significantly reduced.
Additionally, compatible cartridges manufacturers primarily allocate their spending to the research and development of the cartridge. Their goal is to provide high-quality cartridges at a reduced price. This is not the case for printer manufacturers which put more emphasis on improving their line of printers. They also tend to pass on their high costs to the customer through the cartridge prices.
2. A higher yielding cartridge
Research and development has made it possible for some compatible cartridges to have a higher yield. Some compatibles manufacturers have been able to increase their cartridge’s yield by up to 300% of the standard yield.
To ensure that the advertised yield is accurate, we recommend checking that it complies with specific tests. Using a strict procedure, these tests verify the number of pages that one cartridge can print. Inkjet cartridges must be tested as specified in ISO/IEC 24711 and 24712, whereas toner cartridge yields are tested as specified in ISO/IEC 19752 and 19798.
3. Comparable in quality to the original cartridge
Contrary to popular belief, their quality is comparable to that of the original cartridges, provided that they have received quality-assurance certification. It is important to verify this by checking the packaging for certifications and standards. It is recommended to use cartridges manufactured in certified factories (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001). They should also comply with certain standards (e.g. DIN 33870-1 and 2, ASTM, etc. for toner cartridges) which are met by being subjected to extremely strict testing. The manufacturers’ industrial experience and technological expertise are also an important factor in determining quality.
4. Service and warranty
People are often wary of compatibles as they do not have a manufacturer’s warranty.
However, using compatibles does not affect the printer’s warranty. Additionally, some compatibles manufacturers offer their own warranties and services (e.g. lifetime warranties, on-site maintenance for troubleshooting and repairing printers, a free dedicated hotline, etc.). When they do, they must provide a phone number and address on the packaging as well as their contact information. The Qualicert label also ensures high-quality services (e.g. manufacturing, collection, service).
5. An environmentally friendly action
By opting for remanufactured or reconditioned cartridges, you are reducing your environmental footprint and participating in the circular economy. Fewer natural resources are used. However, you should be mindful of greenwashing. Some manufacturers make this claim without being traceable to prove it.
To ensure the manufacturers are environmentally friendly, there are eco-labels (e.g. NF Environnement, Nordic Ecolabel, Blue Angel). These are displayed on the packaging. They cannot be obtained by original cartridge manufacturers. Alternatively, you can inquire about the collection programme in place and how end-of-life cartridges are processed.
There are many benefits to using remanufactured or reconditioned cartridges over original cartridges. They are a great alternative if you wish to reduce your expenses while ensuring the same print quality as the manufacturer. However, it will be necessary to keep an eye on certifications, labels and standards which provide proof of this as well as those for services provided.