If you’ve been paying any significant attention at all over the last several years, you’ve undoubtedly heard or seen advertisements for businesses that promise to save you money on printer ink cartridges. Specifically, by letting you refill the ink once it runs out, rather than forcing you to buy an entirely new cartridge.

Jean Gingras, environmental program manager of the Americas Environmental Leadership Team, explained it this way: “For example, if you have a glass and you drink water out of it every day, as long as you wash it the quality of the water doesn’t change. But with a cartridge, we’ve done studies that show when you remanufacture or you refill it, the quality does change. And so that quality change can cause customers to reprint.”

How does the quality change, I wondered?

“Because the print heads or the nozzles on the print cartridge,” she said, “after you’ve used them until the ink is gone in the cartridge, the quality of those change. They’re not going to print necessarily the same way as they did for the first run.”

We’ll let you make up your own mind on this one!