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Not All Things Are Created Equal

July 6, 2018

Many of us think little about what kind of ink cartridge we use in our printers, with a minority opting for cheaper and non-genuine alternatives. This seemingly insignificant purchase can, however, end up costing us significantly in the long run.

When it comes to ink cartridges, not all products are created equal. With so many options available on the market, it can be difficult to differentiate and purchase the correct alternative for your printing needs. Read on to explore the fundamental facts of modern ink cartridges, and the key differences between genuine, compatible and remanufactured cartridges.

The Development

Genuine Ink Cartridges: Genuine ink cartridges are made by the manufacturer of your printer, specifically for your brand and model of printer. Many people prefer the peace of mind in using a genuine ink cartridge for their printer. With that in mind, we sell all major ink cartridge brands including HP,  Canon and Brother at competitive prices, including regular specials on leading brands.

Remanufactured  Cartridges: Remanufactured cartridges fall into two categories; those that are remanufactured on a large industrial scale and those that are remanufactured by what are little more than backyard operators. Remanufactured cartridges are made from recycled cartridges that have been cleaned and reconstructed for use. While they are a cheaper alternative, they produce the lowest quality prints and can be prone to leaking. In short, they are a risk that can either pay off, or cause unnecessary headaches and maintenance expenses.

Compatible Cartridges: A compatible or generic ink cartridge is basically a copy of the genuine brand name cartridge, which has been manufactured by a third party. There are hundreds of companies producing compatible cartridges, each with widely differing quality standards.



Genuine Ink Cartridges: Genuine ink cartridges are rigorously tested against industry standards, and have been specifically designed to optimize print performance. Industry leaders including HP, invest over $1 billion each year into ink research, aimed at providing their consumers with the highest quality products available. Original printer cartridges are guaranteed to work with your printer. In the extremely unlikely event of a Genuine cartridge malfunctioning it will be replaced at no charge.

Remanufactured and Compatible Cartridges: Purchasing remanufactured and compatible cartridges is known as a printing gamble. For general document printing, remanufactured and compatible cartridges can perform pretty well. However, as they are not manufactured specifically for the printer, they are prone to significant quality issues. These quality issues including fading, streaky results, clogged ink and poor colour accuracy. Most remanufactured and no compatible cartridges carry a guarantee so you’re on your own. What's worse is that a failure can damage a printer and any repairs, or even a replacement, is your responsibility.


Page yield is the number of pages a user can print with a given printer and cartridge, and can have a dramatic impact on your printing expenditure.

Genuine Ink Cartridges: Traditionally, printer manufacturers determined their own page yields. This all changed when genuine ink cartridge manufacturers formed a collaboration to  formalize the testing of page yields across the industry. This is known as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The ISO enables the consumer to make informed decisions when purchasing print supplies, and sets a minimum requirement for page yield. The ISO has only been adopted by genuine ink cartridge manufacturers, providing consumers with peace of mind that every ink cartridge purchased, will yield the desired results.

Remanufactured and Compatible Cartridges: Independent testing has shown that Non-genuine products give a significantly lower page yield than their original counterparts. This means more time (and money) spent on replacing your cartridges frequently. Although compatible cartridge manufacturers quote a page yield that is identical to their Genuine counterpart this merely theoretical as not testing to prove this  claim.

Printer Protection


Genuine Ink Cartridges: Genuine ink cartridges are the only cartridges that are guaranteed to work with your printer, and are protected by warranties and other manufacturer guarantees.

Remanufactured and Compatible Cartridges: When you opt to use a non-genuine cartridge and it damages your printer, you are no longer covered under warranty. For peace of mind, it is therefore critical to purchase genuine ink cartridges which provide a warranty for your printer’s health.

Printer Health

Genuine Ink Cartridges: As genuine ink cartridges are made by the same manufacturer as your printer, they are specifically designed to fit inside the printer, and optimize printer health.

Remanufactured and Compatible Cartridges: Using non-genuine cartridge alternatives can have significant negative effects on the health of your printer, leading to printer jams and paper burns which damage a printer’s engine. In fact, engine breakdowns are reported to occur about 2.4 times more frequently with non-genuine cartridge alternatives.

End of Life

Cartridges Direct has partnered with ethical recyclers including Close the Loop, and their collection arm  Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, to pioneer processing technologies to safely recycle ink cartridges, toner cartridges, toner bottles and other print consumables. By choosing sustainable cartridge providers, you can ensure that your printing needs do not come at the expense of the environment

Genuine Ink Cartridges: Genuine ink cartridge manufacturers, invest significant amounts of money to develop sustainable materials and partnerships with ethical recyclers.

In fact, original cartridge manufacturers subsidise the cost of closed loop recycling of their products, ensuring that every part of the cartridge is reapplied and kept out of landfill.

Inkjet cartridges, toner cartridges, toner bottles and drum units are processed through highly specialised equipment, capable of reducing the cartridges to smaller particles that can be more easily separated and used for alternative purposes. These purposes include:

eWood: eWood is a sustainable material created from recycled materials sourced from toner cartridges, printers, computers, televisions and other electronic equipment. It provides an alternative to unsustainable alternatives including timber, concrete and steel, which all have environmentally damaging manufacturing processes.

Metals: Steel, aluminium, stainless steel and precious metals are separated by magnets in the recycling process. With a ready market for scrap metals, these recycled materials can then be reapplied to become aluminium food cans and other items.

TonerPave: a form of sustainable asphalt made with used toner powder extracted from the recycled toner cartridges of the 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program

Check out the video below to learn more about TonerPave and the positive effect it is having on our environment.



Remanufactured Cartridges: Large-scale remanufacturers offer full environmental security, at much higher level of performance than their smaller industry counterparts.

Compatible Cartridges: Compatible manufacturers, who are often based internationally, make no contribution to keep their products out of landfill. Every year, up to 80 million used ink cartridges end up in landfill globally, taking 400 to 1000 years to biodegrade and harming our environment. Non-genuine manufactures are therefore happy to maximise profits through cheaper waste alternatives; all at the expense of our environment.