(Updated) – How to Recycle Staple Ink Cartridge?

What if we tell you that you can return and recycle Staple ink cartridges? Office stores like Staple give you in-store credits if you return your empty cartridges. You can then spend your in-store credit to buy new inkjet cartridges. So, in a way, you are saving money and Earth by recycling ink cartridges through Staples.

Can I return ink cartridges to Staples?

Yes, you can return unopened and unexpired Staple ink cartridges at any time for online and in-store purchases. However, gifts are nonrefundable and nonreturnable.

Keep reading to learn how to recycle Staple ink cartridges and maximize your savings from the Staple toner recycling program.

how to recycle staple ink cartridge
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Basic information

To first proceed with recycling, it is first important for you to know the basics of staples recycle ink cartridge program.

  • Before recycling, you need to purchase in-store or online at Stapes within 180 days.
  • Print yourself a shipping label and request a shipping box from staples to recycle online. You can also deliver the cartridges in person by handing over the used cartridges at the register.
  • For each cartridge you recycle, you will receive free points on your next monthly Rewards statement. Don’t forget to check that out.

If you are a base rewards member, you are allowed to recycle about 10 cartridges per month. However, if you are a plus or premier rewards member, you are allowed to recycle up to 20 cartridges per month. It does not matter what company the toner cartridge belongs to as long as it is bought from any retailer from the US. You will receive about $2 in return for every cartridge.

If you choose to recycle your ink cartridges online, staplesrewards.com and log in with their membership account to gain access to the recycling facilities. One drawback is that Processing time for qualifying cartridges recycled online can take up to ten business days.

If you are someone who wants to hand over the cartridges in person, then the member needs to be present so that the membership account is verified and the customer can hand over the cartridges easily.

Additional information

Staples will accept more than 10 cartridges; however, it will only give rewards for the first 10 cartridges that will be accepted. This applies to the base rewards members. On the other hand, the company will accept more than 20 cartridges for the plus and premiere rewards members but it will only give credits for the first 20 approved cartridges every month.

Buying cheap and empty inkjet cartridges

Our advice would be to buy cheap and empty ink cartridges off eBay. This way, you can make extra credit. How? Assume that you only use 2-3 cartridges per month.  You can sell up to 10 cartridges every month if you are a base rewards member. You can buy 7-8 cheap cartridges off eBay and sell them for $2 each at staples. This how you will be able to maximize your credit.

Value for money

Let’s assume that you buy ink worth $30 or above every 6 months. Per year, this will cost you about $60 or $ 70.

If you need this ink, good! If you don’t need it, that’s fine too. You can always find a place to sell off then ink. Assuming the worst-case scenario, you will make a 20% loss which will be about $ 13 – $15.

This way, if you sell up to 10 cartridges per month, that will total up to 120 cartridges per year. For this, you will receive a reward of $ 240.

Now if we move on to the cost-benefit analysis you will notice that you spend a total of $25 – $30 on the empty ink cartridges (including the 20% loss) in return for $240 worth of rewards. Isn’t this mind-boggling?

If you have someone else who can do the same with another account, your rewards can be doubled just like that!

The more the merrier

The rewards program gets even more exciting if you are a plus or premiere member. You can double up your rewards on a single account by simply just spending $35 – $ 40 on empty cartridges. Although reaching the plus level can be frustrating which requires you to spend up to $500 every year, the offer is worth it considering that you will be able to get $480 worth of rewards.

How to recycle staple ink cartridges??

The process of Staple ink cartridge return is quite simple and easy. All have to do is head down to the store, tell your phone number to the register, and hand over the cartridges.

You can also recycle the cartridges online. As mentioned earlier, you just have to request a shipping container by logging in to your account. Staples will send a container – they will not charge for shipping. You just have to pack and ship 5-10 cartridges per box.

The process is just that easy.

How can the rewards be used?

The Staples rewards can be used in-store be it online or in person. If you have rewards collected in your account and you are heading to buy something off Staples, you can use the rewards instead of handing over the cash.

Be careful with the rewards

  • Staples usually merges two accounts into one if couples combine rewards on the same transaction. That can’t be good! Try avoiding it.
  • It will be a disaster if you order online with Staples Rewards and try to return in-store because the store does not have a mechanism to reprint the rewards. If you order something online, be sure you come back to it.
  • Maintain a steady buying practice of ink.  The store will still accept your ink if you haven’t made any qualifying purchases of $30 in the last 180 days, but you won’t be eligible for any rewards. Thankfully, the Staples website has recently been redesigned, making seeing your purchases easier than before.
  • Staples Rewards used to be valid for up to six months, but now they only last until the end of the month. Assume you recycle ten cartridges in August. The prizes will be given out on September 15 and will be valid until October 30.

Recycling for businesses

Businesses can also recycle at Staples. Staples not only recycles all of your ink and toner cartridges, regardless of brand, but they also make it simple.

It offers pallet pickups from docks if you offer cartridges in bulk (around 300). You just have to email recycle@staplesreturns.com to schedule a pickup time. Furthermore, Staples offer to pick up the empty cartridges the next time they deliver any product. Additionally, they offer prepaid mailing label services as well for your ease.


  • You get access to in-store credit that you can easily spend on your next purchase at Staples.


  • After you’ve handed in your cartridges, it can take up to 30 days for your rewards to appear in your account at Staples. That’s assuming there aren’t any delays.
  • You only get in-store credit instead of cash. As a result, you can only shop from Staples.
  • There are many other limitations such as being a member of the base rewards program, only selling 10 cartridges per month, cartridges need to be qualified first and you need to spend at least $30 first.

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Recycling your used ink cartridges at Staples can be a hassle sometimes. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that you have no benefit. In fact, along with getting credit, you are attempting to save the earth by recycling plastic. For your ease and comfort, Staples does provide free shipping services and benefits like credits.

In short, Staples ink recycling is not as nice as it appears on the surface, but it can be profitable if done correctly.

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