How to earn Clubcard points recycling old printer ink cartridges!

I realised this week that I’d never covered printer cartridge recycling on Shopper Points since our official launch in December, so I thought it was worth a quick look today.

In years gone by, this was a fantastic deal.  There was a very long list of cartridges that could be recycled for generous numbers of Clubcard points.  More importantly, it was very easy to buy the relevant empty cartridges on eBay for a relatively low price and then send them off for recycling!

Tesco still runs the deal via its partner, The Recycling Factory, but it is less generous than it was.

Tesco will give you 25 -125 Clubcard points for many popular printer ink cartridges.  It is a simple structure – see if the cartridges you use qualify for recycling and then print off a Freepost downloadable label from the website and affix to your packaging.

If you do this with the old cartridges from your home printer, you will be able to pick up a few hundred points per year.

It is a lot trickier now to make this work by purchasing empty cartridges online.  If you want to take a look at the options, search on eBay for ‘empty ink cartridges’ (click here to do the search automatically).  Tesco allows you to recycle up to 100 cartridges per household each year so if you could get a good supply deal it would work well.

Ink recycling cartridges

You need to do the maths carefully to make this work.  Not all cartridges you send can be recycled – some will be damaged, even if you can’t see it from the outside, and some will get damaged in transit.  You need to build in at least 10% – 20% wastage.  Any cartridges marked SETUP or INTRO (the free ones you get with a new printer which only hold a small amount of ink) are also not accepted.

Recent reports suggest that The Recycling Factory has got even tougher on the cartridges it will accept.  Some people send them brand new cartridges – bought in offers like this one – and even they have been known to be rejected.

If I was doing this – which, for clarity, I’m not – I would be looking to pay no more than 90p per ‘100 point’ cartridge.  That would be 99p with a 10% failure rate.  If I redeemed by Clubcard vouchers for 2 x face value then I would just about be doubling my money (tripling my money if I got 3 x face value) – but there is of course quite a bit of effort involved, and there is a risk of a higher failure rate.

Take it from me – this deal is nowhere near as generous as it once was if you are plannng to scale it up.  This is not something to jump into without giving it some thought.  On the other hand, it is a no-brainer if you can get your hands on empty cartridges for free via your home or office.

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Do you earn Clubcard or Nectar points from your credit card?.  If not, you're missing out. We review the best options in this article.

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  1. I am finding a lot of carts being rejected. They look fine and have 2017 and 2018 dates on them so they are newish but not getting through. I would even say 50% of mine have been rejected

  2. Tilly71 says:

    Same here, been had over by them twice now! The latest excuse for rejecting was holes too large when they were in my home printer, bought from new?
    I dont trust them anymore.