Use it up, wear it out: get the most from your laser toner cartridge

When the toner in your HP laserjet printer shows signs of running out, you may get an alert from your printer’s software, or you may just notice vertical white streaks on the printed page, depending on the printer model you’re using.

Don’t be in a hurry to replace the cartridge. You can get a lot more use from it if you take out the cartridge and gently shake it from side to side to redistribute the toner, and replace it in the printer. Keep doing this every time it shows signs of running out, and you should be able to get a lot more pages. I finally, today, replaced the cartridge that’s been giving me alerts for at least two weeks. (This may or may not work with other manufacturers’ printers, but it’s worth a try.)

And of course you do have the printer’s properties set to default to economy/toner-saving mode, don’t you?

When you do install a new cartridge, remember to recycle the old one. If it’s an HP, you can use the box from the new cartridge to ship the old one to a recycling facility — there’s a prepaid shipping label in the box.  Just put the old cartridge into the box, seal it, slap on the label, and take it to a UPS shipper.