1 Jan

Costco Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service – Discount Ink Cartridges

Posted by Norman F

Many of us have Inkjet Printers that require expensive ink cartridges. They seem to run out fast or dry out after periods of inactivity. Here are some tips to fight back.

Inkjet Cartridges Get more Expensive

In September 2016, HP issued a software update to various printers that PREVENTS them from using non HP Ink! Do not install this.  They reversed course in October 2016 to update the software again and remove this restriction.

The printers affected by the firmware upgrade are HP Officejet Pro 8610, HP Officejet Pro 8615, HP Officejet Pro 8620, HP Officejet Pro 8625, HP Officejet Pro 8630, and HP Officejet Pro 6230 ePrinter, HP Officejet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One Printer, HP Officejet Pro 6835 e-All-in-One Printer, HP Officejet 6812 e-All-in-One Printer, HP Officejet 6815 e-All-in-One Printer

Costco inkjet cartridge refill service, inkjet cartridge, cheap inkjet cartridge

On average, a typical US household spends $90 a year on ink cartridge and toner costs. Costco has a new inkjet cartridge refill service in many locations. They do this in the Photo center. Not only do you save money over purchasing a new cartridge, you also reduce waste by recycling what you already have. Ink cartridges need to be used regularly, otherwise they begin to dry up and clog the printer’s nozzles.

Unfortunately, Costco has removed photo centers in some stores.  They have moved to a model where you upload your pictures online and just pickup in store. You might have to check their website to determine which stores still have photo centers.

Refilling a HP 901 XL Black cartridge at the Costco Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service costs $9.99, buying a new one costs $29.99. You can find re-manufactured ink cartridges from Amazon for even less cost than refilling.

Infotrends estimates that roughly 85% of printer cartridges are thrown away after just one use or 350 million empty cartridges are ending up in landfills.

Refilling Inkjet Cartridges

You should refill the ink cartridge as soon as possible after running low on ink.  If you continue to print with one color empty, the print head nozzles will be damaged and the cartridge may not refill properly. We have had the Costco ink refill people tell us that they could not refill our cartridge because one color was totally dry. You can refill the cartridge roughly two to eight times before you have to buy a new one. Keep the cartridge in a ‘print head down’ position as much as possible.

Refilled ink cartridges are usually about 95% Full, so you may not get quite as many prints. Archival quality prints may not maintain their quality for as long, but refilled ink cartridges are fine for every letters, invoices, labels, etc.  If you need top quality photo prints, visit the kiosk at your local Walgreens or Costco.

Ink cartridges are big money makers for printer companies like HP.  They label their cartridges with “Intended for single use only.” and “No licensed for modification”. When looking for a new printer, be sure to review ink costs before buying. A bad refill job may result in the leak inside your printer or printer heads being clogged, but probably not any hardware problem.

It is illegal for printer manufacturers to void printer warranties if you use third party inkjet cartridges.  If the refill breaks your printer, then you probably will not get a free repair.

Epson EcoTank Supertank Inkjet Printers

Epson recently pioneered a new feature in their color inkjet printers. Their new line includes a tank that can hold enough ink for up to 2 years of printing.  You refill the tanks yourself at home using larger low cost bottles. They claim a savings of up to 80%.

Savings are based on average monthly print volumes of about 150 pages (ET-2500, ET-2550, ET-4500), 300 pages (ET-4550), and 800 pages (WF-R4640). 2Yields based on the ISO/IEC 24712 pattern with Epson’s methodology. Actual ink yields will vary considerably for reasons including images printed, print settings, temperature and humidity. Yields may be lower when printing infrequently or predominantly with one ink color. All ink colors are used for printing and printer maintenance, and all colors must be available for printing.


ink cartridge refill tank system

Refilling Cartridges at Home

If Costco Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service does not refill a certain ink cartridge (Epson for instance), try some online vendors that may have inkjet cartridge refill kits. It is messy refilling your own ink cartridge using syringes but you can save even more money.  Unfortunately, some inkjet cartridges have computer chips to prevent refilling. You can also buy a tank based ink system. These are best for people that print high volumes of items.

Refilling Inkjet Cartridges and Toner Cartridges

Be sure to recycle any inkjet cartridges and toner cartridges. Most electronics stores such as Best Buy or Office supply stores such as Office Depot – OfficeMax will gladly recycle ink cartridges.  They will also gift you rewards point for doing so.

HP through its HP Planet Partners program includes free UPS return labels to recycle its toner cartridges.

Companies recycling a large number of toner and inkjet cartridges can look for companies like this one.

Buying a New Printer

When buying a new inkjet printer, consider not just its features, performance, cost per page, and printing quality but also the costs of supplies and availability of 3rd party ink and refillable inkjet cartridges. Often times, the cheapest printers has the highest printed cost per page. More expensive printers can use high capacity cartridges. Look for printers with average cost per page around 2 cents by diving price of ink cartridge by number of pages it prints per cartridge. Some office oriented printers like the HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 have a low print cost per page but do not take into account all consumables like print heads.

Laser printers

If you mainly print in black and white, consider getting an inexpensive black-and-white laser printer instead of a color inkjet printer. Laser printers use a toner cartridge that can sit unused for months, and have a significantly lower cost per page, and print faster when compared to a color inkjet printer. Cost per page is typically around $0.02 or less versus $0.04 or more for color inkjet printers.

Laser Printer Danger

Professor Lidia Morawska from Queensland University of Technology’s International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health has details on dangerous emissions from common laser printers. Her earlier finding was that almost 1/3 of popular laser printers emitted large numbers of ultrafine particles and VOCs.

“In the printing process, toner is melted and when it is hot, certain compounds evaporate and those vapours then nucleate or condense in the air, forming ultrafine particles,” she said.

You can try to avoid using laser printers at home by sticking to inkjet printers or safer printers on their list. Also ensure ventilation is good around laser printers and that they are turned off when not needed.

Green Office Supplies at Office Depot

Office Depot has a new Smart Steps to a Greener Office Section. Help Go Green in the office. Going green is getting more mainstream. A survey they did indicates that businesses definitely need to get with the program.

  • More than half (54%) recycle paper and magazines
  • Nearly a half (48%) recycle bottles and cans as well as ink cartridges (45%)
  • Only 24% purchase Energy Star rated technology, e.g. computers, monitors, copiers, etc.
  • One-third (33%) use energy-efficient lights
  • A quarter (24%) print double-sided copies
  • Only 16% purchase remanufactured ink and toner cartridges

Items they recommend buying from Office Depot of course include:

  • EnviroCopy 100% Post Consumer Recycled paper
  • 100% Recycled, 95% Post Consumer Hanging Folder
  • Remanufactured Ink and Toner Cartridges
  • Refillable products
  • Energy star technology and lighting
  • Green Cleaning products like their hand soup
  • Greenguard certified furniture like Global Genoa

They also have lots of useful tips for being more green. A pretty good effort.

Costco Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service is a good way to save money and be more green. Be sure to read our article Inkjet and Toner Saving Software and Solutions to learn about software solutions to reduce ink cartridge usage.

Eco Friendly, Green Printer Paper

We ran out of printer paper and were looking for an eco friendly solution. The goal is to have FSC certified paper and 100% recycled. Office Depot did not have anything that met our goals.

Staples has Staples 100% Recycled Copy Paper that meets both requirements. $51.99 a case vs $35.99 for their standard copy paper. Ah the price of being ECO friendly..

Conservatree has listings with advice on selecting paper.

Recycle Inkjet Cartridges and Toner for Free

Costco lets you recycling used laser toner cartridges and inkjet cartridges for free.  They will even send you a UPS label.  They just ask you fill a sturdy box with 20 items or 20 pounds of mixed empties*. (approximately 6 toner cartridges)

Inkjet and Toner Saving Software and Solutions

We have covered the costs, non eco friendliness, and inconvenient inkjet printer cartridge area in several articles including refilling inkjet cartridges.  We recently ran across several software programs that claim to help reduce the amount of ink you use while maintaining high resolution quality prints.

Ecofont is a free typeface that looks like Arial but has lots of little holes punched in it, so it will require up to 20% less ink to print. At sizes of 12 point or larger, the holes are very visible. Selecting the font Century Gothic will also reduce the amount of ink that is needed.

inkgard costs $9.99 a year and claims to have upto 75% ink & toner savings. It works on your PC in the background and uses ‘intelligent image processing’ to prevent wasteful overlapping of droplets and toner particles.  They also sell replacement ink.

PretonSaver claims they will save you up to 50% using Pixel Optimizer technology to identify and delete wasteful pixels. Free 30 day trial. $19.99 for a 1 year subscription.

inksaver is another ink saving program that costs about $32 and works with Window.  At least it does not charge by the year. Free 15 day trial.

Kodak inkjet printers have been shown to yield a lower cost printing solution. They charge a fair price on the printer and lower prices on ink.

A free option is to select extremely low-quality, low-ink/toner, b&w printing options in your print options.

Hopefully someday these optimizations will be added to printer drivers themselves. Unfortunately the printer companies have no incentive to do this.

HP Officejet Pro 8500 Inkjet Printer Eco Friendly, Green?

HP Officejet Pro 8500 Color Inkjet Printer

We recently bought an HP Officejet Pro 8500 all in one inkjet printer on sale. It is quite a decent printer, scanner, and fax machine. The software is a lot less bloated that HP consumer oriented printers. One bad thing is the long 2 minute warm up time.

It is Energy star qualified and sips very little power when turned off. HP touts it as Saving upto $500 a year compared with color laser printers. It has individual color ink cartridges that you can replace as they run out. Also available are extra large cartridges that help save money and approach 2 cents per printed page.

Some issues are of cost of consumables. The Black ink extra large cartridge costs $35.99 and are good for 2200 prints. The three colors ones cost $26 a piece and are good for 1400 prints. Of course your mileage will vary. This OfficeJet Pro 8500 printer also uses two printheads that cost $60 each. There is no approximate data on when they need to be replaced. Filling this baby full of new ink and print heads costs $234! It is cheaper for me to purchase an EXTRA printer for spare ink and heads.

HP makes its money on supplies so they have special 940 series ink cartridges that are not refillable and have not been cloned by 3rd parties.

Before you buy a new printer, check to see how much ink costs and whether compatible or refillable ink is available. Also check out our list of inkjet and toner saving software.


Do you have any tips related to saving money on inkjet printing or inkjet cartridges?

Posted on January 1st, 2023
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14 Responses to “Costco Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service – Discount Ink Cartridges”

  1. Monique Says:

    And the quality is great. I think I got more print than I did from the new cartridge! Win/Win/Win….

  2. Edward Says:

    The ink is as close to HP ink as you can get. Some generics are not very close. Also, yes sometimes there is more ink than a new cartrige. Great Service!!

  3. HP Officejet Pro 8500 Inkjet Printer Eco Friendly, Green Printer? | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] you buy a new printer, check to see how much ink costs and whether compatible or refillable ink is available. […]

  4. Adam Says:

    I’d never really thought of refilling before, it’s good to hear that the quality is good.
    But approximately how many times can you refill the same cartridge?

  5. Tracy Says:

    what about “using refilled cartriges will damage my printer ” or “void my warrentee on my printer”

  6. alfred liwanag, Jr. Says:

    The whole process of refilling an almost spent ink cartridge is fairly easy if you do not mind the possibility of ruining some cloths or staining a table top. On the same side of the coin is that it is considered illegal, although some might say that the prices charged in the first place constitute usury. In any case, the process is going to go on so understanding how to lessen the chance of trashing some cloths may be worth it.

  7. Inkjet and Toner Saving Software | Easy Eco Blog Says:

    […] non eco friendliness, and inconvenient inkjet printer cartridge area in several articles including refilling inkjet cartridges.  We recently ran across several software programs that claim to help reduce the amount of ink you […]

  8. Jose Hiraoka Says:

    Today I went to your store in Mouintain View Ca. to have a inkjet cartridge refill and they said we don’t have my # 42(Lexmark) and I had fell very bad ,because in the coupon doesn’t said some or fewer ;they ask me to check in the internet . I don’t see any extra information there .Please I would like to see any think you can do for me.

    thank you
    jose Hiraoka

  9. easy eco blog Says:

    Lexmark 42 – That is an example of a proprietary ink cartridge with a chip that prevents 3rd party ink and refilling. The best you can do is remanufactured #42 Lexmark ink.

    Be sure to research ink before buying a new printer.

  10. david osman Says:

    Can you refill Epson action 1500 toner?
    I have 2 empty toners.

  11. easy eco blog Says:

    yes, do a Google search for “Epson action 1500 toner refill” and you’ll see several suppliers.

  12. Russell Says:

    CostCo ink refills ruined my printer. I had HP02 cartridges refilled by Costco and they killed the printhead of my expensive HP All-in-one Photosmart C7180 printer. I spent an additional $100 on new cartridges but it was in too late.

  13. Lars Says:

    Refilling a HP 901 XL Black cartridge costs $9.99, buying a new one costs $29.99! That´s a true bargain, a discount of 2/3 i guess it´s a one time offer.

    The homesite looks good enough though.

  14. Printer Ink Says:

    I usually buy the remanufactured ink cartridge when the ink run out , i use Canon Pixma 3550 which use pg540 , cl541. It cut down the cost by 60%.

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