If you moan when you’re at the ink stand, this will help…

Aaahhh… take me back to the days of the typewriter ribbon.

You bought the reel of ribbon, mucked up your fingers with ink as you placed each real on the spools under the lid. Snap the lid down and you¹re good to go… for thousands and thousands of words. The typewriter ribbon kindly let you know when it was getting tired… like most of us human beings, it just got weaker.

If you were really desperate, you could switch to the red section and get a little more ink from it.

Finally the day would come when you’d succumb to buying another spool. One spool stayed in the typewriter to receive one end of the new ribbon. The other spool was thrown out. Metal. Into the dump to rust. These were the days before recycling concerns when you knew it was Tuesday because that was the night they burned the garbage at the town dump.

Today, the printer ink cassette gives you no warning. At 11:30 pm, in the middle of a proposal that’s due the next morning, the cassette just gives up. Empty. Ha-ha! No worry, you say as you open your supply drawer. And then you remember you used your extra cassette last time. You don¹t get very many words out of a cassette of ink… how could you with that tiny ink well?

Cha-ching! Cha-ching! The ink and toner companies have us coming and going, usually in a panic, as we toss the old cartridge out and flip in the new one.

Well, George Bryant and Simcoe Office Products have been quietly doing battle with the frequency of toner and ink cassette replacements. While they haven¹t invented a newer, bigger holder of toner, or ink, they have diverted literally millions of them from landfill sites in our area.

Their Caring Cartridge Program invites people and businesses to gather up their empty cartridges and drop them off at Simcoe Office Products. They have a big bin at their Cedar Pt Dr location, and Wendy Coulson, Marketing Director, says she often arrives in the morning to find a bag hanging on the front door handle, or a box sitting outside.

“We have one woman who lives on Leacock Lane and drives right past us every day as she commutes to Toronto. She collects up cartridges from her entire building and makes a regular drop here. It’s her ‘thing’ for the community.”

When the back room at Simcoe Office Products is literally jammed full of boxes of cartridges, one of their delivery trucks loads up and delivers it all to Korectype in Mississauga where it is recycled or re-used. Plastics are melted down for injection moulding, casings are cleaned and re-used, residue toner is sent to asphalt companies. And each little inkjet cartridge or toner cartridge has a pricetag on it, returning to Simcoe Office Products between $2 and $25.

Now, this office furniture and supply company is locally owned. George could take the money raised and add it to his till. Or, he could split it among his staff. Or, he could pocket it for himself.

But for the past five years they’ve been donating the funds to charities.

This year, Simcoe Office Products is donating the funds to Christmas Cheer, in an effort to spread the financial gift as far as it could go. Depending on the numbers of cassettes dropped off and recycled in December, that financial gift could total between $3,000 and $5,000.

It would buy George a nice ski trip or a cruise down south, but instead it’s going to help supply 7000 people with Christmas Week right here in our community.

“It was George’s community decision,” says Wendy. “He built his company right here and has gone through the peaks and valleys of the entrepreneur… he wants to give back.”

In the past 5 years, more than $31,000 has been given back.

Now, that’s one cheery use for an empty ink cartridge!

Thanks, George. Thanks, Wendy.