Redmond biz toning down the cost, waste of printer ink

These days, when we’re off to the supermarket, the shopping list might just as likely include “printer ink or toner” as milk, bread or toilet paper. Between reports for the office, kids’ homework projects or a volunteer newsletter, we’re always printing something. All that ink and toner gets expensive — and dumping the empty cartridges is costly for the environment. Rapid Refill, a new business in the Village at Redmond Ridge, is urging consumers to “rethink ... reuse ... recycle ... re-ink.” The store collects empty inkjet and laser toner cartridges and re-manufactures them to keep them out of landfills.

Charles Grimmett

Charles Grimmett

These days, when we’re off to the supermarket, the shopping list might just as likely include “printer ink or toner” as milk, bread or toilet paper. Between reports for the office, kids’ homework projects or a volunteer newsletter, we’re always printing something.

All that ink and toner gets expensive — and dumping the empty cartridges is costly for the environment.

Rapid Refill, a new business in the Village at Redmond Ridge, is urging consumers to “rethink … reuse … recycle … re-ink.” The store collects empty inkjet and laser toner cartridges and re-manufactures them to keep them out of landfills. The cleaned and refilled cartridges cost 30 to 50 percent less than conventional ink or toner cartridges and come with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee that the product will perform equal to or better than an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) product.

“It’s an environmentally friendly product and smart money-wise, too,” stated Charles “Buddy” Grimmett, owner of the Redmond franchise. “We also sell printers that help people maximize their ink usage.”

Since the shop opened in late March, about 40 percent of Rapid Refill’s sales have been to walk-in customers. Grimmett and his staff are also developing relationships with business owners, customizing and delivering orders based on the nature and volume of what they print. From restaurants that print daily menus to funeral directors who produce large quantities of memorial cards, there’s a whole lot of printing going on. And that means countless opportunities to educate people about small changes they can make to save money and the planet, said Grimmett.

When people are doubtful about trying remanufactured cartridges, Grimmett points out that King County has successfully used such cartridges since 1991, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars and dramatically reducing toxic waste.

His interest and expertise in recycling go way back. He spent 16 years in management for Value Village, helping non-profit organizations turn donations of used clothing and household goods into cash. That position required heavy travel and Grimmett left the job because he was tired of spending so much time away from his family. But he’s still eager to help schools, churches or other groups raise funds for worthy causes through recycling.

“We’ll go out and collect their unwanted cartridges or people can set up collection sites here,” he noted.

Further proving that Rapid Refill owners truly “walk the walk” — and aren’t just full of idle talk — the store is fully furnished with items designed from recycled materials. The walls are made from sawdust and wheat stock, the carpet is made from milk jugs and the countertop is made from crushed sunflower seeds. Their discount coupons resemble wooden nickels. When one customer redeems one, the reusable coupon is thrown into a bin and given to the next customer.

“The best form of recycling is reuse — that is the ultimate form,” said Grimmett.

Rapid Refill is open seven days a week at 23535 NE Novelty Hill Rd., Suite D306. For information, call (425) 868-3200 or visit www.rapidrefill.com.


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