July 30, 2009 10:43:00 AM
When I bought a printer for my first computer, I was surprised how inexpensive it was. Several friends warned me, "Don''t get excited yet. Just wait until you start buying printer cartridges. That''s where they get you!" It was true, too.
Since I use my computer almost every day, I was spending an arm and a leg on ink. I tried purchasing cartridges in bulk on-line, but that didn''t work too well. Half of the cartridges were duds, and the ones that did work contained less than half the ink of the in-store brand-name cartridges.
Next, I tried re-filling my own cartridges, but I did not have a degree in engineering. It was way too messy, so I gave up. Saving money on ink cartridges, I concluded, was not in the books for me.
To the rescue
But alas! I discovered Toner Van, located at 1906-B Highway 45 North here in Columbus. Their brightly-painted van, parked in front of the store beside the highway, caught my attention long before I ventured in.
"We opened here in Columbus in January 2009," said Chris Winders, owner of this money-saving store.
"We sell and deliver to single moms who have kids with computers, to big businesses and hospitals, churches, schools, and everything in between," Winders said.
Winders, originally from Aberdeen, spent about 15 years in information technology, training educators in the Lee County and Tupelo City schools, along with corporate business people.
"It dawned on me," he said, "that no one was providing a high-quality, relatively inexpensive product."
He also emphasized that Toner Van is not a mail-order/on-line computer printer store.
They collect empty cartridges, which are re-filled and/or re-manufactured and sold back to the public, freshly filled, at highly-reduced prices.
"You can come into our two stores, look me in the eyes, shake my hand, get a high-quality product and save money," Winders said. "Oh, and we are very ''green,''" he added.
Just the facts
I stopped in about a month ago and bought a color cartridge for my HP printer. Winder''s assistant sold me a re-manufactured cartridge that held twice as much ink as the ones I have been buying at a local store. I was a bit dubious, but decided to give it a try.
I was relieved to see that the pictures I printed were as vivid as the ones printed with the more expensive cartridges.
Not only can you save money on cartridges at Toner Van, but by patronizing their business, you help the planet. Winders shared several "green" facts with me.
"It takes about a gallon of oil to make a new laser cartridge," he said. "And, almost eight cartridges are thrown away per second just in the USA!"
Additionally, a laser cartridge thrown into a landfill takes up to 400 years to decompose. (Some of the plastic components can take 1,000 years.)
Every re-manufactured cartridge saves nearly three and one-half pounds of solid waste from being deposited in landfills.
Seventy percent of used cartridges throughout the world are currently being thrown out.
In one year, if the world''s discarded cartridges were stacked up end-to-end, they would circle the earth over three times.
And the real kicker ... printer ink costs $5,200 a gallon!
Toner Van sells every kind of laser and ink jet cartridge ever made, at approximately half the price of other stores. On top of that, Toner Van customers are helping the environment.
Bring in your empty cartridges when you go to visit and make a purchase. You will receive a monetary credit for each one.
Toner Van is located at 1906-B Highway 45 North, directly across from Subway and Arby''s. Their hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Reach them at 327-8508.
John Dorroh is a semi-retired high school science teacher, who writes a business column for The Dispatch.
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