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Friday, November 16, 2012

Staples Ink Recycling

This is one of my favorite ongoing deals.  Staples will give you $2.00 in Staples credit for each empty ink cartridge you recycle up to a maximum of 10 cartridges a month for regular customers, 20 cartridges a month for customers who spend more than $1000/year with Staples.

Nice deal, huh?  So why do they do this?  You know those remanufactured cartridges you can buy in most office supply stores?  Where do you think they get the empty cartridges to refill?  So if you have been sending in your empties to "recycle" for free in one of those nice little envelopes provided by HP and other manufacturers you have been adding to their bottom line.  Sending in the empties to your child's school?  In most cases the school only receives $.10 per cartridge.

Other office supply places do accept cartridges for recycling and give some sort of bonus but I think the Staples program is the most profitable.  And, in addition to the usual $2.00 per cartridge there are often extra bonus deals.

Last month I hit them on a bonus deal where you received triple credit for five cartridges if you also bought $50 or more in HP ink on the same day that you recycled.  I happen to have a Staples Premier membership for spending over $1,000 last year, so I turned in the first five for a $30 credit and an additional 15 cartridges for another $30.  In addition, Staples gave me 10% back in credit for the cartridges I bought.

The results?  Yesterday they credited my account with $65 in Staples Rewards.  What will I do with that?  Do I really need that many office supplies for a family of three?

Most people don't realize it but Staples has expanded into carrying lots of useful items for the average home.  Paper towels, toilet paper, cases of water, cleaning supplies -- all available.  And my favorite, K cups for my Keurig Brewer. 

For the most part I use my rewards on K cups.  Not from the store, but through the Staples breakroom catalog that you can find in most Staples stores or request from their 1-800 number.  The breakroom catalog has better prices and a wider selection that what you see in the store.  Also, if you're lucky, your breakroom catalog will also have a one time use code for $20 off a purchase of $75 or more in items from the catalog.  And that combines perfectly with your Staples Rewards.

In my case, that $65 becomes $85 -- keeping my house in K cups for quite some time.  Staples delivery is excellent -- order by 5:00 pm and your order is delivered the next business day -- for free if it's over $45 (before coupons).

Don't have that many ink cartridges on hand?  There's no harm in collecting them from family and friends -- or perhaps even buying some empties on eBay where they cost very little...

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