While roaming in the internet looking for a printer problem that can be featured on today’s post, I run across a thread from HP support forums and a topic just came up to me. It’s a print cartridge problem specifically with an HP 4500 series model unit. The issue basically is mainly with the unit’s consumables particularly the toner cartridges.

According to some aggravated customers, their printers just stop printing colored documents due to an error that says: Print Cartridge Problem Tri-Color, followed by some instructions telling the user to refer on the device’s document to troubleshoot the error. However, you may read every guide from the manual that is related to the issue to no avail. The problem or rather the thread for this issue is still active, and customers are waiting for a real good response that might fix it. However, it seems that users help out their fellow users simply because their beloved manufacturer can’t even give a working solution for it.

Back to the problem, as the title of our posts explains, there are solutions from the same thread which came from concerned users that would like to help out. The funny thing is that their suggested workarounds are kind of weird, something like it. Check the ones below for you to know.

One of them suggested spitting on the HP 4500 cartridge contacts, like very lightly to prevent damaging the item. If you want you can probably dip your fingers to your tongue and rub it gently on the contacts. Sounds gross or whatever, but it did work for some.

Another weird suggestion is blowing the cartridge, not like a balloon. Just give it a nice blow, perhaps the contacts are not fully detected by the machine due to dust or toner build up. But I’m thinking, maybe it is because they removed then re-install the replacement cartridge from the printer which helps a lot. You see, taking the toner cartridges out of the unit then reseating them back is an old-age method that really does the trick on most issues related to print supplies.

Others have resorted to buying a new replacement which roughly costs around $29 more or less. To find out that they wasted their money from purchasing the previous cartridge that caused the problem. It is a costly method indeed, especially if you’re not sure if buying a new one would really resolved the problem. But what can we users do if the manufacturer itself can’t even give us the right solution, guess we have no choice but to try everything that might work.


Staples global recycling program for used printer ink and toner cartridges have reached 350 million recycled toner cartridges and ink cartridges. Being one of the largest office supply company, they're definitely worthy to have an award for such achievement. Though I'm not particularly sure of what kind of award should they received.

Over the past 8 years, Staples Inc. continuously accept and recycle used printer cartridges globally from almost all printer users and consumers. Overall, an approximate value of 350 million cartridges have been recycled. Therefore, we can assumed that there are over 60 million spent cartridges that are being recycled every year since the company started their program in the year 2005.

Staples' Printer Cartridge Recycling Program has nearly recycled about 182 million pounds of resources like plastics and metals which are mainly use in the production of such products. According to the company, the total weight of these reuse materials collectively, it can match with the actual weight of an aircraft carrier.

Aside from the fact that Staples is one of the world's largest printer supply company. It also has an outstanding recycling program which is not only exclusive for their customers, but for everyone who would like to participate. In North America, it is the largest retailer of print supplies including ink cartridges and toner cartridges for all printer types and models.

As a customer, what else are the benefits of participating to their program? Well believe it or not, there is cash in cartridge recycling and a lot of consumers know that this is a real thing. In Staples, anyone who return their supplies for recycling purposes will receive $2 per cartridge. But they are only limited to return up to 10 cartridges per month. You see they don't want to make it a business for you to surrender a hundred of spent cartridges for a couple of bucks. What they intend to promote mainly is the practice of recycling your print supplies. With or without money in return, you should be concern enough for the environment to keep those spent cartridges until you reached like 8-10 pcs or so, then send it back to Staples. You earn by simply being environmentally responsible.

Rewards are really good to hear, but let's not make it the reason that drives you to participate on any recycling programs. Printer cartridges and other supplies can harm our environment if we don't disposed them off properly. It wouldn't harm to spend an hour or two driving off to the nearest Staples retailer and get those empty cartridges recycled.
One of the best seasons we always look forward is the season of fall. Although leaves from tree tops are falling which indicates the start of swearing sweaters, the warmth colors of withering leaves from autumn make a nice background. Imagining this view lead me to come up with a nifty art project that children of all ages will find it interesting to try. 

Of course we'll be needing recyclable materials like used printed sheets. But this craft is more fun to try if your printer experience leaks from ink cartridges. Basically you can't just repair the cartridge by covering up the hole and install it back to the printer. If that's the case, then this issue wouldn't be too serious to many users to request for an item replacement. Unless you don't have a defective ink cartridge, don't dare try to hammer or drill a hole in your printer's cartridge just so you can try this project. Honestly, that's not what I intend to promote here obviously. What I'm trying to teach you are the ways on how to reuse or recycle laser toner cartridges and inkjet cartridges.

To begin with the project, prepare the necessary materials including used paper sheets, paint brush, cleaning rags and towels. If you don't have a defective ink cartridges, don't dare try to hammer or drill a hole in your printer's ink tank, that's obviously not what I'm trying to promote here. Instead, you can use regular paints and choose any color you want for this painting activity.

Let's start by choosing the paper sheets you may use from the pile of used printed materials you gather. See if there are some sheets that doesn't have much prints or any graphics so you can make use of the other side for painting. Now here's the tricky and messy part. Since it's autumn, we'll try to make painted trees using your bare hands and fingers. To those who will be using inks from printer cartridges, it's best to wear hand gloves to protect your skin from direct contact with the ink. Prepare the ink or paint you prefer and wet the palm of your hands with it, then stamp it on the paper sheet. Make sure you can clearly see the shape and mark of your hands, if it's not too clear, repeat the process. After that, you can wash your hands to avoid getting any serious problems due to skin contact with the ink. Well, if it's just paint that you used, there's no need to worry that much.

The next step is by drawing the leaves of your tree, you can do this by dipping your fingers from the paint. Try to use colors that blend together, say, the autumn colors like orange red and yellow, or the standard CYMK colors of ink cartridges. Again, dip your fingers with paint and make thumb prints or finger prints on top of your tree covering its whole. Just don't overdo it, kids may get untidy and messy but don't spoil the fun, just guide them properly.

Once you're done with all the messy part, don't forget to clean the tools you used, as well as yourself. As a reminder, inks from printer cartridges may contain harmful chemicals that may result to skin irritation, it's not advisable to try using it without proper protection. Remember to keep your printer supplies on proper storage rooms to avoid getting defective and dry cartridges. If you experience leaks with items you bought from a particular store or retailer, make sure to double check the items on your purchase.

Recently last month, Hewlett-Packard Company - HPQ, expanded their recycling options that was previously being offered to their valued customers. HP printer loyalist might be familiar with the company's widely known recycling program called HP Planet Partners. Proudly touted as the best, not particularly sure if it's the worlds best to claim, perhaps one of the most outstanding program that offers a closed-loop recycling process for print cartridges. Just to give you a hint, since HP started the Planet Partners program, more than half a billion print cartridges have been recycled. Imagine how many spent and used cartridges were reused, resulting to the production of recycled laser toner cartridges and ink cartridges.

According to the news from HP Channel, the company collaborated with some of the most known print and office supply retailers including Staples, Makro, Dixons and El Corte Ingles. Across the countries of Europe,Middle East and Africa, they started expanding the recycling program's collection network. Reaching far beyond its limitations before, it is indeed a commending endeavor for the company to aim for additional 9,000 outlets worldwide. This goal to raise the number of retail outlets will soon became a success, and before we even know it, our cartridges had been a part of it by then.

While other countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France, the Hewlett-Packard company already started working with one of their recycling partner there. The AFB (Air Force Base) Group, an IT recycling company that has been a partner of HP for quite a long time. They participated in collecting, sorting as well as sending the post-consumer waste they gathered back to HP to undergo recycling. As a matter of fact, AFB Group which is based in Australia, from 200 business establishments they successfully gathered approximately 10,000 used printer toner cartridges.

Keeping those spent cartridges out of the landfills is not an easy task, and as a consumer it is our responsibility to take actions and participate on such great programs. We may not be able to save thousands or billions of cartridges in a year, but every small contribution we made means a lot.

I guess a lot of printer users worldwide would agree with this. Since they're reusing components of used printer toner and ink cartridges to produce new original supplies. How about they lower the price of them right? Considering that they don't actually used fresh natural resources and materials, why not cut down the price of their products. If an original cartridge that is made out of virgin materials has the same price as a recycled cartridge, how is it justifiable then?

While summer is not yet over, I find it fitting to give you guys another nifty project that you can surely do over and over not only for this season, but for so many occasions as well. Our project this time requires some tinkering skills and a few basic knowledge about the materials we will be using so as to avoid hazards. Aside from recycled printer toner cartridges and ink cartridges, we'll also use this special powder called zinc sulfide. It is a chemical inorganic compound specially use to produce glow in dark powder that creates electroluminescent light effect.

Luminous Ink With Zinc Sulfide

To further explain, zinc sulfide is commonly in a transparent form and has been used as a pigment for years. When this powder is combined with an activator (another chemical), it can produce glows in different colors. Through several applications resulting to various chemical reactions, zinc sulfide became a widely used powder for luminescent materials.

Back to our project, in order to create glowing printouts you need to make your own glow in the dark inks. Please be reminded that I'm not promoting ink refilling with this post, just do this at your own risk. Since I already mentioned it, yes you'll be doing the dirty job of refilling ink cartridges, sounds fun isn't it? But before anything else, start mixing your glowing ink. Here's the ratio, for every 3 tsp of formulated ink, add 1/4 tsp of luminous zinc sulfide, stir until the mixture is even and heat it inside a microwave 20-sec at the least.

Fill The Cartridge With Luminous Ink

Now prepare the cartridge and syringe, also cover your hands with gloves to protect yourself from skin contact with the mixture. In order to refill the empty cartridge, you have to remove the label on top to reveal the holes from where you can pump inks. Fill the syringe until halfway full with the glowing ink you prepared, then inject the needle inside the refill hole and push the ink inside. This can messy and tricky, don't make yourself used to it, just be sure you do it properly. I reckon that once you find it easy to refill a cartridge, you'll soon do it with the print supplies you have thinking that it's much cost-efficient. Again, let me remind you that I'm not promoting such thing, it's just that the process is part of our project.

Testing The Result

Once you're done filling the cartridge with the glowing ink, you may or may not place the sticker/label back on top, but I suggest you try to, such that it may avoid the ink from drying up quickly. Then re-install the cartridge to the printer you intend to use, and run a test page to see if the result is fine enough. Images are good samples to print, wait for the printout and if it's pleasing enough expose it to a very bright light for more than 1 minute or so. After that, take the image to a dark room where you'll be able to see how wonderful your images glow in the dark. If I may add, you may also use black light if you have one, it works best.

Take note that the glowing effect will not last for quite a long time, it depends on the light source where you exposed it. But basically once the glow runs out, just charge it back to a bright light for a minute and your image will soon glow.
Summer isn't completely over, though a lot of us might be wishing some extension, and went crazy singing "summer summer don't go away, please stay more for a couple of day". It isn't that boring to think so, when summer vacations and relaxing weeks are all over, it means you'll be with the school days again. Enough of the drama and get yourself ready, gear up as early as possible. You see there are positive things you may consider just when summer is nearly coming to its end. Shopping is just one of it, kids are really having fun with early shopping for school supplies and products, shoes and bags are also counted.

If you'll go shopping now you might bump with great deals and sales from a lot of retail stores downtown, it's a tradition, or perhaps a marketing strategy to offer early school supply shopping promos. Let's not drop any brands or names of retail stores, just drive off the road and see which among those well known retailers and shops does offer great value discounts with their school supplies. Pretty sure you won't be disappointed, cause it's better to shop early for such commodities instead of rushing things up for a last minute shopping. You don't want to get sweaty, haggard and all worked out with all the hassles that come along with late shopping.

But of course as good provider of green ideas, information and thoughts, I'd suggest you make a list of what you and your kids most certainly need to have a great start for their school days. It's not ideal to have a long list of all the materials you thought might possibly be needed, just rather make a short one with the most important supplies. A first-aid kit most likely, pens and notebooks are the very basics, these two should never be out of your list. If it happens that you totally forgot to include it, knock yourself off cause that's freaking unbelievable.

Additional supplies like folders and coloring materials can be set aside, unless the school imposed that your kids should have it first day of school, which I doubt. Notebooks on the other hand are sometimes provided by the school, so maybe there's no need to prioritize them, but spares should always come in handy. To make your kids unique among the class, why not consider buying supplies made out of recycled materials. Don't say "no way", once you get to see such products you'd be more than willing to get one for yourself. Notebooks, binders and pens which are made from various types of recycled and earth friendly materials, they are now with class and style. Unlike before that we only get to see them as brown colored, rough and drab, but now aesthetics has been part of creating recycled products.

For the mean time take this post as an appetizer, soon I'll keep posting school supplies and materials that are now listed on my must have tools for school. Just keep on visiting my blog for some upcoming posts that will soon change your ideas about eco-friendly school products.
These days, we'll find that more young professionals are preferring to work at home, for so many reasons. But one thing is for sure, they find it more comfortable to work at home. Some entrepreneurs are typically running their business from home, which is quite more efficient. Others would just want to cut down their daily expenses on commuting, whether by bus or car, both requires spending. While a small group of people are primarily concern about the time they could save just by working at home.

Let's say that working from home may help reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere through the diminishing number of cars from the road, that's a huge factor to consider. However, it still requires a personal computer, some sort of equipment, and home office supplies that anyone may need to deliver their work at home. Thus, the carbon footprint produced from using a computer is still there, but this time it is quite controlled. Yes indeed, controlled in a way that you're obliged to turn it On and Off just whenever you need it, unlike in the office that they're typically in standby mode.

It does makes sense right? Aside from the computer, one of the very essential equipment one must have in a home office is a printer. Exchanging emails and chats can be done through any Instant Messaging platform available in the internet, as well as webmail/email services. But reports, analysis and important documents need to be printed, hence a printer equipment is essentially a requirement in any home office.

The good thing about having your own work space is that you can easily mix things up according to your preferences, or customized the room itself. For more ideas on how to design your home office with a simple touch of eco-friendly ideas, here's a link to MNN's recent post about tips on designing a home office the green way : http://goo.gl/V4U67k

Furthermore, you can also optimize the supplies and materials your home office may need. Lighting does not only give your office a bright shade, it's also use to set a nice aesthetic and a cozy environment. Consider it a good investment, besides who else would use it aside from you right, so might as well make it perfectly suitable to your liking. Office supplies shouldn't make you worry, just make a short list of all the possible things you need and drive off to an office supply store.

Shopping for furniture and equipment can be a tough job but worth rewarding, it will makes sense once you're inside your very own office and it do feels like home. Make sure not to get a sofa-bed cause once you felt sleepy, your enemy is yourself for sure. Kidding aside, a table with drawer and a nice chair to sit will do. Consider getting a table large enough  for  your laptop or computer, a corner for documents, and a shared space for a printer. Every houses and businesses use a printer, so a home office should also have one, no buts or ifs. Make sure to get a printer with environmentally features, and check if you can use eco-friendly laser toner cartridges or ink cartridges with it. The drawback of working at home is that you need to shoulder these expenses such as supplies and electricity. However, comparing the amount you spent daily from working in a corporate office, over the money you can save in the long run by working in a home office, perhaps it will suffice.
Have you heard of the Print Friendly tool? To those who haven't heard or know it, as I said it is a browser tool which can be used to convert a web page into its print friendly version. How is it important? Web pages as we all know are of different types, some are displaying texts, videos, graphics, images, banners, or a combination of any of these. If you want to save a web page, just hit Ctrl+S, then you can print it or preview it whatever you like. For someone who doesn't want to waste inks or toners from their printer, printing a very colorful and image-populated page is something that needs some editing.

Let's say you only need the content of the page, it's easy just highlight whatever part of the context you need, copy and paste it on any word processing program you have on your PC and print it. However, there are some part of the webpage that you want exactly as the way it should be when printed. This is where the Print Friendly tool comes handy.

I've tried testing it with my own blog (PrintGreen), and it seems that my blog is not efficient enough to demonstrate it whole potential, since most of my blog's page contents are mostly texts. So I tried testing the tool to an E-Commerce site that I randomly chose, and voila, images as well as banners and graphics were all removed from the page. It's like having a Wiki-page version of the webpage you want to print.

Basically, it's like copying the textual contents of the webpage, but through the Print Friendly tool, things are much easy and faster. Just type the URL of the page you want to print and wait until the page loads the print friendly version of the webpage you need. The tool can be accessed online as a free source by visiting Print Friendly, or if don't want the hassle of frequently visiting the site every time you need it, there's an optional button you can drag to your browser's bookmark toolbar.

If you're a blogger or a website admin and you want to embed the tool for your site so every visitors or readers may use the option to print a specific page of your site in Print Friendly style, there's also an option for it. This thing is really useful for school purposes, especially for students who often make researches and documentations. Instead the long method, call this the short method, which is really what it intends to provide. Aside from the convenience it brings to site users, it also promote green printing practices by telling everyone to avoid wasting print supplies. In addition, instead of using high-priced printer consumables, why not consider using recycled laser toner cartridges and ink cartridges with your printer. You get to save money, help the environment, promote environment friendly printing methods, and of course you practice being environmentally responsible.
Some of the latest printers in the market today support energy-saving features, one good example to cite is Canon's Auto Power function which turns the printer OFF when not in use for certain period, and turns it back ON automatically once it receives a print request. There are more of these similar features to mention like Duplex feature which allows printing on both sides of a page. It doesn't simply save energy, but paper materials as well. Aside from the auto ON/OFF feature, there's also these so called low-power mode and standby mode which are also useful in many ways.

Do you know that about 7-10% of the overall electricity consumption in most office establishments goes to those machines that are often idle? Since among your employees, not all of them would be concern to turn the machine off or pull the plug off the outlet, this estimated value may become bigger in the long run.

According to ENERGY STAR standards, the Auto-Off feature of your machine should be adjusted base on the number of images/prints it can produce in a minute, basically the PPM and IPM ratings. PPM stands for pages per minute, while IPM stand for images per minute. Here's the settings you must follow:
  • 0 - 10 ipm: 15 minutes (suggested auto-off time: 30 minutes)
  • 11 - 20 ipm: 30 minutes (auto-off could be set to 60 minutes)
  • 55 + ipm: 60 minutes (possible auto-off time of 90 minutes)

Printer require electricity to work, and that's given, each of its functionality takes different rates of energy. Say, printing takes two times more than copying, while scanning takes 3 times more than printing, take note that these are just assumptions. With regards to duplexing feature, setting the printer to print in duplex by default will cut the energy consumption of printing by almost half. Same goes with copying, single-sided copying requires more energy compared to copying two files in a single page in one run.

Low-power mode or sleep mode, and more likely similar to standby mode, is the lowest power state possible that a printer can be set. As mentioned earlier, Auto ON/OFF feature works together with this feature. Since you can't shut down the machine, you can set it to low-power mode instead.

If your printer does not support any of the said features, perhaps your machine is quite a low-end model, but there's always a way if you really intend to go green. If you can't use any feature to make it efficient, then use a component that will make it as one. Just like using remanufactured toner cartridges and ink cartridges, you might not save energy, but it can generally reduce printing expenses much as you save from your electricity bills.
Printing is generally a part of peoples everyday lives especially those who are in a very busy working environments. Others are very much concern of the expense their printer generates from replacements supplies, while there are those who don't care at all. We're providing solutions that promote environment friendly printing, from which it includes educating those who don't care to start caring from now on. One effective way of reducing printing cost is by setting the printer to print only with black inks.

Print your files and documents using only the black cartridge will certainly reduce the overall cost of printing. Whilst it requires you to buy black ink cartridges more often, this doesn't mean it'll bring much trouble with the expense. Just so you know, black ink tanks are less costly than those colour tanks, that's why it is more wise to get a spent black ink rather than any of the colour ones.

Econo-mode or draft or black-only printing, whatever you call it, they're all quite the same, a printer feature that restricts the machine to print only in black. It's economical indeed, especially for those who have a printer that can still work even with a single cartridge installed which is the black. Do you know why it's not ideal to print without the black cartridge and let the colour cartridges do the printing? Once you send print jobs to the machine and there's no black ink to pull through, the printer will make use of what's available, and will combine the three colors to create a dark ink equivalent in replace for black.

In the same manner, the drawback of using only the black may result to some odd quality prints, perhaps a bit dull or lacks vividness. Gray-scale printing is what they commonly called it, since the output in Econo-mode are less clear or more close to gray shade. For this reason, it is advisable to use black ink cartridge alone only if the file you're about to print is not that important or is not intended for office use. Surely you don't want your reports and graphs to look less professional than it should be.

HP and Epson printers are two of the most prominent brands that support black ink or Econo-mode printing. It lets you save inks/toners by printing in draft mode, as mentioned earlier. If your primary reason is to save your printer's consumables, toner-saving mode is expected to consume 40-50% less inks/toners with every print. That would be enough to extend the life of your cartridges or possible draw out more prints from them. Additionally, if you prefer more savings, why not opt for eco-friendly toner cartridges and ink cartridges which retailers are selling for half the price of original counterparts. Just don't use let the price tricked you, sometimes we're not aware that our eagerness to save compromises the quality we may get.


    Fiel Mori Promotes Eco Friendly stuffs and creating environment friendly articles for everyone @PrintGreen


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