Some people don't realize their ink cartridge life spans can last well beyond the typical one-time use.
As a computer specialist, David Lewis, Computer Central, 537 E. National Ave., has witnessed plenty of wasteful attitudes concerning ink cartridges over the years. He'd like to see that change.
Hoping to see more people join in the recycling effort, he has been working to convince others to bring their cartridges to him to get refilled for use again, or donate them to organizations so that someone else can use them rather than let them wind up in a landfill.
"I hate to see the waste," said Lewis. "It makes me cry when someone says they had a bunch of those (cartridges). 'I throw those away,'" is a phrase he has heard too often.
Clay County schools, the YMCA and some area churches have helped Lewis in his recycling effort. He compensates the nonprofit organizations with a donation to their enviromentally-conscious programs. Annunciation School also collects cartridges for recycling purposes.
He was born in the 1940s, a time when everyone had to conserve to get by. The attitude always stuck with him and led to his goal to increase recycling awareness in the community. He'll accept Inkjet, laserJet, copy machine and fax cartridges.
From the more than 800,000 cartridges sold each week, just over 100,000 are being recycled. Lewis thinks it's a shame for the others to wind up in a landfill.
"There are multiple thousands thrown away everyday. Some can be used 10 more times," he said. He's convinced that remanufactured cartridges are as good as new and the Environmental Protection Agency stressed that same theme.
The cartridges and parts he can't use at his business go to a broker who can use them. He pointed out that after laser cartridges are remanufactured once, the drums get stripped for new ones to be added. The old ones can then be recycled. Lewis donates the old drums to someone who collects them for Riley Children's Hospital. They can also be sent to plastics recyclers.
"If nothing else, recycle the plastic," Lewis advised. "I hate it when people throw things away."