A Case Study of Remanufactured Inkjet Cartridges: Sustainability vs. Print Quality


Document ID: 
Xiaoying Rong


Digital, Non-Member: 
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Photo, Non-Member: 


Over 300 million printer cartridges are thrown away every year based on statistical data. It generates 75,000 tons of waste annually. To reduce waste, many printer manufacturers recycle ink cartridges. Aftermarket manufacturers also recycle and sell refilled ink cartridges for much lower cost then OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products. This project focused on remanufactured (refilled) inkjet cartridges for home and small offices. Sixty different remanufactured inkjet cartridges from six aftermarket manufacturers and six OEM cartridges were studied. The following quality issues were investigated: defective rate, optical density, color difference, line raggedness, mottle, streaking, and inter-color bleeding. The test forms were printed on different substrates, including OEM inkjet paper, store brand inkjet paper, and multi-purpose paper. The results showed that the remanufactured inkjet cartridges rated lower than the OEM cartridges in the areas of evaluation. The most significant differences are in color, mottle, streaking, and inter-color bleeding. This provides an opportunity for remanufacturers to understand where their shortcomings lie and to explore steps for improvement.

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