How to earn Clubcard points recycling old printer ink cartridges!

I realised this week that it’s been two years since we last covered printer cartridge recycling on Shopper Points, 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 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 planning 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 sent off a stack of eligible cartridges when this was last mentioned. Never got the points and never heard anything from the company either

    • Yes I sent a few off and never got any points. Tried to contact the company but never received a response.

  2. I would be exceptionally wary of using this. I have sent off a dozen or so envelopes and never got a bean. They are uncommunicative and lack transparency. “Buyer beware”

  3. Captain Dave says

    Used inks are being bid up to silly prices lately on ebay, i try to buy them at a maximum of 1p per clubcard point ( including postage ) , so for 4 x HP 301 ( 125 points each ) my top bid would be 5 pounds.But i have struggled to get any at that price lately, and my stocks are getting low.

    I find its best to send them in small amounts, 4 or 6 to an envelope, and i wait till the last lot has been credited on tesco clubcard account, before sending any more.

    recycling factory /are/ contactable if you have inks not credited, but unless you send recorded delivery ( which defeats the object ) then there is no come back, but they will tell you if they arrived ok but failed test etc.

  4. Got fleeced a few years ago by sending in a large batch of inks, all stated as not acceptable and no credit when I chased, what all 30?
    Sent in a couple recently, bought new and used in my own printers so no abuse. Also failed tests and not acceptable – don’t waste your money buying off ebay as good chance you’ll get nil back for your efforts.
    My inks will be sold on ebay from now on..

  5. OT, I know a lot of people here exhange Tesco CC vouchers for Uber credit. I never use Uber in the UK, but do a lot in the US l. Am I right in thinking that any GBP credit in the Uber account would not be able to be used against rides in USD?

    • Unfortunately this is the case. You can only use the credit in the UK.

      • Thanks Anika, I thought so.

        Unfortunately Uber isn’t really available where we live so UK credit is only useful once every couple of years when we are in London.

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