Printing in Pandemic : Why Laser Printer Cartridges?

Šis ir stāsts par to, kā viens tauriņa spārnu vēziens otrpus okeānam …

This is the story of how one swing of butterfly wings across the ocean can affect events on these shores – although China and Latvia are located in different parts of the world, a virus that originated there has changed my daily life. Among other things, I have purchased a new printer. I have been working from home since May, whereas only a few colleagues remain in the office. This situation is now familiar to many people – the global pandemic COVID-19, which has turned our homes into offices. In this context, I would like to look at a purely practical question: how do I ensure high quality printing of documents at a home setting?

As a lawyer, I am constantly faced with the need for documents in paper format. Large amounts of different documents are required in this field that are not acceptable in digital format. Not everything can be signed with an e-signature, moreover – not everyone uses it, especially older people. Also, you often have to work with a large amounts of information on a daily basis, but it is more pleasing to the eye to read it on paper than on a computer screen. Reading this way takes place in a tangible way, which also facilitates the process of making notes.

Along with the arrival of pandemics, ink cartridges for my printer were replaced by laser printer toner cartridges. It all started when my inkjet printer turned out to be broken. It surprised me unprepared – how come it is suddenly broken, if the last time I used it was several months ago? At the time, I didn’t know that in the case of an inkjet printer, one has to print at least once a week – otherwise the ink gets dry, clogs up, the cartridge needs to be replaced, yet even this seemingly minute screw up can lead to the printer giving up the ghost. My printer was completely and utterly gone. Arrivederci! 

Laser printer vs. inkjet printer 

It turned out that fixing my old Canon was more expensive than buying a new one. However, also the replacement printer I finally bought was at a higher price than the previous one. However, I was willing to pay so that I would not have to experience this drama again when the work would be halted by dried or clogged ink. That’s why an inkjet printer is suited for those who print regularly, not for someone who forgets about it for weeks. 

As it turned out, in a long-term home environment, a laser printer is a more economical option. Although the printer itself is more expensive, laser printer toner can print more pages than an inkjet printer. It was once being referred to as the office printer because it can print thousands of pages. Although barely anyone needs such a large amount of printing at home, it has become a popular choice – both in terms of economy and convenience.

Not only is a laser printer capable of printing at a higher volume, but printing itself is faster. An ink cartridge has, on average, enough ink to print 135-1000 pages, while laser toner cartridges can print up to 2000-10000 pages instead. The service life of the two is also completely different – for inkjet printers, operational life is on average 3 years, but for laser printers – 5. 

In addition, there is a misconception that choosing an inkjet printer, which can be purchased from around € 30, will do a service for the wallet. Although the cheapest laser printer costs almost double, the cost of laser printer cartridges is not as astronomical as it is for inkjet printers. Because they can print only a hundred pages, the inkjet printer cartridges need to be replaced frequently. And in just two months, the cartridges will cost more than the price of the original printer. 

In my opinion, there is only one reason to decide in favour of inkjet printers – in case you often need to print images. In the case of an inkjet printer, the images will be of much higher quality, the image will have a better resolution and depth. One can buy special inkjet photo printers designed specifically for printing high quality photos.

Judging from the financial point of view, all you have to do is compare the cost of a laser printer cartridge and an inkjet cartridge per page. Although a laser printer cartridge is more expensive, its cost per page is lower, given that it can print up to twice as much as an ink cartridge. Plus, you don’t have to worry about changing cartridges regularly and toiling yourself around the printer.

Nowadays, a laser printer is by no means just a possibility for huge office printing needs. There are also small models available that are easily placed at home on a desk and which take up little space. Once upon a time, this advantage was only felt in case of inkjet printers, but today the size of a laser printer is no longer a concern.

A laser printer is the best choice for those who print written documents, the text is high quality, sharp. If I decided on printing some photos, it would soon become a challenge for the laser printer. In that case I would need to visit a place or a shop providing photo services.

What do I do with the cartridges when they’re used up?

Whether laser printer cartridges or ink cartridges, in both cases one has to consider that it’s plastic. Never ending amounts of plastic bottles and bags in the ocean make one think… However, can used laser printer cartridges be disposed of in a waste bin for plastic? The answer is no – they need to be disposed of at a specialized collection point.

However, before writing off a laser toner cartridge, you might want to consider refilling it. This can be done 3 times as minimum. The same cartridge can last longer even if a worn part is replaced – specialists can perform appropriate maintenance. For my needs, I use the service point located in centre of Riga, at Matisa iela 8. Visiting the shop takes on average 15 minutes. On top of that, for this amount of time, leaving the car in the parking lot at the shop is free.

Refilling the same cartridge cannot be done indefinitely. At some point its resource is exhausted and a new one must be purchased. However, the old cartridge can be returned, for example, to the same store on Matīsa iela, where specialists will take care of its further delivery to the proper recycling company. This, according to my knowledge, is the only place the cartridges can be given away for recycling for free.

It should be seen as a positive that not only our offices think about more sustainable management, but we on our own also adopt these environmentally friendly thinking habits at home. It is really not that difficult to visit the right place along the way and make sure that the waste is delivered to its intended place. On the other hand, the printed reading material, which is no longer needed, is placed in the waste bin for paper, where it will be taken care of and recycled further.

Where did I dispose of the old printer?

Once I have started talking about recycling, let us exhaust the subject completely. Of course, I did not know where to put the broken printer at first. I had never in my life encountered a situation where an electrical appliance had to be discarded. From friends of friends I learned about the service Here, specialists recycle this type of hazardous waste, including printers. Also the dried-up cartridge was left in the printer. 

If the printer and cartridge are handed over together, there is no charge for recycling the cartridge. However, if a good pile of used cartridges has accumulated, will also take care of their delivery to the appropriate authorities for a separate fee. The price is 95 eurocents plus VAT. 

New workday

While I am working on the article, the laser printer of my home office is quietly doing its job. Neither are there any issues with the laser toner cartridge. In all fairness, however, neither this device can be left entirely on its own without any supervision. It is advisable to use a laser printer at least once every two months so that downtime does not damage the printer itself or the cartridge. 

In some way, the new rhythm dictated by the coronavirus is to my liking. This makes businesses consider whether the need to rent real premises is sound. In addition to that, not always the work has to be done from office. Some good lazy days, working from the sofa in your home in a comfortable bathrobe, are by no means worse. Productivity is also at a high level. In addition, we are able to see our children more often, stay at home, enjoy home-cooked lunch. I suppose that even after this virus is gone, our working days will no longer be the same as before. Everyone’s eyes are now open that the business model may be different.

Most probably I am not the only one at this time who has wrought my mind thinking of which printer to buy. So far, however, the laser printer seems to be the best solution. Even the name itself sounds pretty serious. And if one has more free time at home and is in a creative mood, this guide shows how to refill the laser printer cartridge by yourself. However, if it does seem overly tedious, at least on the days when the pandemic situation allows it, you can run to a service where it is done quickly and easily by specialists. 

If, however, due to an emergency situation, it seems too risky to leave the home, can can also buy new laser printer cartridges at better prices on the website Not only original cartridges are offered here, but also compatible ones – they are as similar as possible to the original products. The price difference can be measured in several tens of euros, but the quality is the same, so it is definitely worth choosing these models. According to a single price list, the cartridge can be delivered either through a parcel post or by courier to your door.

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