Friday, April 25, 2008

Recycling at Staples

Someone commented the other day asking about how to recycle inkjet cartridges at Staples so I thought I'd explain it (to the best of my knowledge). So if you don't ever shop at Staples, just skip this entry. Staples recently changed their inkjet recycling policy. Now the way it works is that you bring in your HP, Dell, or Lexmark inkjet cartridges (limited to recycling 3 per day) and hand them to a cashier. The cashier will then ask for your Staples Rewards card (like a frequent shoppers card) and you will be given a $3 credit per cartridge to your Staples Rewards card. If you don't have a Staples Rewards card and you shop at Staples, then you are not taking best advantage of the system. The money credited to your Staples Rewards card will be sent you to once per quarter in the form of check, that you'll be able to use at Staples to buy stuff.

However years ago, Staples used to be much more generous. You used to be able to bring in 20 cartridges per day - any make or brand or even generic cartridge and get a $3 coupon for each cartridge you brought in. Those were the good ole days - I would buy my generic inkjets for my printer on ebay dirt cheap and then get a $3 coupon back on each from Staples. It was like I was printing for free. The coupons would expire 3 months from the issue date and you could only redeem three coupons per day ($9 value).

Then about a year or two ago they changed it to only accepting HP, Dell and Lexmark brands and I think they changed to a 10 cartridge per day recycling limit.

When I was at yardsales or thrift stores, if I could buy cartridges for .50 or $1 each, I would buy them and then bring them to Staples for recycling. I then got into buying cartridges right on eBay - I would buy used cartridges in bulk (like 100 or 200 cartridges at a time) paying about .50 - .75 per cartridge. (I would buy from sellers who offered free shipping).

Matter-of-fact, yesterday I was at a thrift and I purchased four HP brand cartridges - still in the package for $2 (.50 each). However, I think I can sell these on ebay and make more than the $12 credit I would get if I took them into Staples.

When Staples changed their policy a few weeks ago, they did away with giving coupons and just credit your Staples Rewards card. In a way, its better since you can accumulate more money to put towards a larger item. Now when I shop at Staples, I am always trying to get near the $9 or $10 mark so I can use three $3 coupons and pay practically nothing. However, since I spent money to get the coupons, it may only look like I am paying .51 cash, but I did spend some money to get the $9 worth of coupons.

So for people who still have the $3 coupons (like me), they are still good until the coupons expire - which is 3 months from the issue date. And since Staples stopped giving out coupons on March 30, the latest that people have to use the coupons is June 30, 2008.

Since on my Staples Rewards card it appears that I spend a lot (over $1000 per year) that qualifies me as being a "Premier Rewards" member. So I get free shipping on all my orders at Staples.com (as long as I continue to spend $1000 per year). So I will have no problem using all my remaining coupons since I can type in the coupon codes and redeem the coupons thru Staples.com. I think I probably have at least 50 left - since when I found out about the Staples policy change, I went to ebay and bought 70 coupons for $70 (with free shipping. Yes, there were lots of ebay sellers who would sell their Staples coupons. But now since they aren't giving out coupons, the amount of Staples $3 coupon auctions are drying up. Now the ones that are listed on ebay are going for a little more than $1 per coupon plus shipping.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Planet Green might pay you better on some OEM cartridges. They pay up to $5 on some brands.