Printer cartridge recycling programs help consumers and companies perform all the functions their offices and businesses demand while limiting their negative impact on the environment. This is great, but unfortunately, some of these recycling programs can cause many individuals concern about their privacy. Read on to learn more about what’s going on and what you can do about it.

The Good Side Of Printer Cartridge Recycling Programs

Printer manufacturers offer customers free recycling services for their printer cartridges. At Canon, for instance, to return it, no matter how bulky or awkward the cartridge, you simply fill out a form and they pay the shipping.  Canon’s program, in particular, is very successful too, since they reuse all parts of the cartridge, the metals and the plastics. Sounds great, right? So far, so good.

The Problem With Printer Cartridge Recycling Programs

An issue arises for many when Canon asks for personal information like our name, e-mail address, home address, and telephone number. Again, many of us will just type the information in and let it go. Many don’t.

The reason many customers don’t appreciate Canon’s request boils down to a worrying privacy issue. The information they request seems innocent enough, but it becomes part of a customer profile that they can use to record your product usage and make assumptions about you so they can better sell their products.

A Bigger Problem

A staggering number of companies do this. This data collection that companies do is how our identity can be stolen when a company is hacked, a way we receive junk e-mail and paper mail, and how companies plan strategies to sell things to the public at large and to each individual customer. Yes, you read the last part right. They can anticipate your spending habits and when you’ll likely be buying another of their products, which can get more than a little creepy at times. 

Some of what companies like Canon do actually benefit us because, like companies claim when they explain these policies, they can better answer our customer service complaints about individual transactions and offer us deals we are actually interested in. Reward cards that retailers give out, and that many of us use all of the time, are an example of this. With them, we get instant savings and our favorite retailers send us deals on items we actually buy.

But most of us are not even aware that companies are collecting this information, and even when we are, we have a very limited knowledge of what’s being done with it. If asked, how many of us want to run the risks associated with data collection in exchange for instant discounts and personalized deals?

There Is Good News

We can educate ourselves on what companies do with our personal information. With that information, we can refuse rewards cards if we don’t want them, and when asked to provide our personal information, choose no, instead of assuming it’s perfectly safe to do so. As often as websites allow us, we can refuse cookies and choose web browsers, like Firefox, that don’t collect information on our searching habits. We can also campaign for privacy protections, which probably won’t ever completely eradicate these policies but can limit their scope.

The good news for the recycling program is that there are other ways to recycle your printer cartridges.

#1, there is always the whole reuse aspect of recycling. If we’re really industrious, we can try to reuse them ourselves.

#2, office supply companies and other third parties offer printer cartridge recycling services that are also easy and don’t require that we supply our personal information. Staples encourages you to recycle your printer cartridges with them, and while they ask if you want credit for it applied to your rewards card, you don’t have to do it to recycle the cartridge.

#3, Canon themselves offer another alternative, which is to drop your printer cartridges off at your local FedEx print and ship center.