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"YES and NO" YES to gas and NO to inkjet cartridges. We're all stuck! We can't drive without gas and we can't print without ink. The fact of the matter is that gasoline can only be mass produced in huge factories.

Today, alternative energy sources aren't commercially available to the public. That may change in the future, but we can bitch all we want, if we want to drive, we have to pay the high price for gasoline. The fact of the matter is that inkjet cartridges, while they're a technical marvel can live over and over again.

Throughout the past 20 years companies like HP, Lexmark, Canon and Epson, also known as OEMs, have developed an amazing technology. Some cartridges have hundreds of patents on file. You're playing with fire if you try to produce a new inkjet cartridge. Chinese companies are producing compatible, new ink cartridges in the millions and the OEMs are having a hard time suing them in Chinese court. Good luck trying to win a lawsuit in a Chinese court.

The pricing strategy used by the OEMs is to sell the printer at or below cost and make a big profit on the ink cartridges. Some OEMs make most of their corporate profit from their sales of printer supplies. Give the customer the razor for nothing or close to nothing and sell them the consumables, the razor at a high margin of profit.

Lo and Behold, bring in the entrepreneur. If a better mousetrap can be designed, then the entreprenuer will find it. They've figured out how to remanufacture the original inkjet cartridges, which are commonly called "virgin" cartridges. This means they have only been used once and then typically thrown into the trash. Hundreds of millions of inkjet cartridges were purchased in the U.S.

last year and more than half found their way to landfills.S. and more than 350 million were simply thrown away. These resourceful entrepreneurs developed collection programs to get these virgin cartridges back, took them apart, cleaned them out and filled them with new ink. It's called remanufacturing. It's not a new segment.

Auto parts remanufacturers have been doing this for at least 50 years. The quality of remanufactured cartridges is as good as the OEM cartridges. Now, the newest craze is retail inkjet refilling stores and kiosks. They take The customer's inkjet cartridges, which may or may not be virgins and simply refill them. Even companies like Walgreens and Office Max have installed retail refilling stations. The quality of "Refilled" cartridges is less than great.

As a matter of fact, many refilled cartridges may not work properly. BUT. They are cheaper than buying the original OEM cartridges. Sometimes half as much! Still, the OEMs retain more than 70% of the total inkjet cartridge market. The next best way to buy inkjet cartridges is to not buy them.

Can you imagine how much your kids could print if your ink didn't cost very much? Maybe cost nothing at all! Mothers must buy milk for their babies. All of us who drive must buy gas. If we use inkjet printers, we must buy inkjet cartridges. It's time for the public to speak out about some of our overpriced "fixed costs".

Craig Jacobs has been actively involved in the ink and toner remanufacturing business for more than 5 years. He is recognized as a leading proponent for low cost printing. For further information about saving money on inkjet printing go to: http://www.inkjetsforever.com Contact Craig Jacobs at inkjetsforever@gmail.com

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