Walgreens customers will be able to do more than stock up on toilet paper and cough medicine Wednesday during a free, one-day printer cartridge refill program.
Walgreens has been offering cartridge refills for a year — $10 for black ink and $15 for color.
To promote the program, on Sept. 12 the drugstore will fill one black or color cartridge per customer for free at its photo counter.
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The store is pushing the program as a low-cost, more eco-friendly alternative to purchasing new cartridges.
"For small business owners, students or anyone who prints a lot of documents or Web pages, the savings can add up fast," John Sugrue, Walgreens photofinishing general merchandising manager, said in a statement. "And people feel good about keeping printer cartridges out of landfills."
Cartridges can generally be filled on-site within a few minutes, he said. Customers can visit the Walgreens Web site to find participating locations for Wednesday's event.
In general, printer manufacturers have looked upon the refiller market as one that not only cuts into their profit margins, but one that can affect the quality of print jobs made by the printers.
HP has already sued and settled suits against so-called "refillers". Startup Zink, meanwhile, is developing ink-less printers.
"Yes, HP continues to recommend that customers use HP ink for the best printing results, but our surveys confirm that people have been happy with the quality of our ink refills," Tiffani Bruce, a spokeswoman for Walgreens, said Tuesday morning. "Our ink refill machines are manufactured by a company called Toner Head. So far, demand has been strong."
Requests for comment from cartridge manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark and Epson were not answered by press time.
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