Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Earn Virgin Points or Hotels.com credit by recycling ink cartridges with Tesco

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Tesco and The Recycling Factory have an interesting scheme to bribe you with Clubcard points to recycle old printer ink cartridges.

You receive up to 125 Tesco Clubcard points per cartridge you recycle. This means up to (125 x 2.5) 312 Virgin Points or £3.75 of Hotels.com credit, depending on how you spend the points.

Remember that British Airways / Avios is no longer a Tesco Clubcard partner.

A trip down memory lane ….

Back in the olden days, ink cartridge recycling was an easy way to earn cheap Avios. The Recycling Factory accepted a very wide range of cartridges, and there were numerous companies selling empty cartridges in bulk on eBay.

You could order 100 cartridges for £50 or so, relabel the parcel when it arrived and assume that 90ish would be accepted for recycling, triggering up to 20,000 Avios.

Tesco also used to do exceptionally good bonus point deals on new ink cartridges. You could get cheap Avios by buying the cartridges purely for the bonus points – this 2013 deal, for example, got you Avios for 0.82p each and you still had the cartridges. These could be sold on eBay or sent off to The Recycling Factory who – despite being brand new and full – were happy to pay you even more points.

How does cartridge recycling work now?

The way the promotion works has changed. You no longer post cartridges to The Recycling Factory.

This is how it works:

  • Check that your empty ink cartridges are on their list of acceptable ones – there is a calculator on their website here
  • Insert the cartridge and fill out your details, choosing either up to 125 Clubcard points per cartridge or a charity donation
  • Drop the envelope into the recycling unit in your local large Tesco store

There is a limit of 100 cartridges per Clubcard account per calendar year.

The Recycling Factory will decide whether or not your cartridge is in a suitable condition for recycling, and you need to agree that it can throw away your cartridge if it does not pass its tests. It is worth saying that the company has been running this scheme for a decade with Tesco and has a reputation for playing fair.

Conclusion

This is not a bad deal, allowing you to be environmentally conscious whilst also picking up some Virgin Points, Hotels.com credit or whatever else you choose.

It is a decent return. A standard HP301 black cartridge, for example, is worth 125 Clubcard points. This is 312 Virgin Points or £3.75 of Hotels.com credit. Given that an HP301 Black is around £13 new on Amazon, it is a decent return.

PS. If you need to buy ink cartridges on a regular basis, remember that Viking is a Nectar partner and you can convert those points to Avios. Details of the Viking / Nectar partnership are here.


How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (November 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (28)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • mradey says:

    Only Canon and HP printer cartridges accepted.

    • Mikeact says:

      Not at all…take another look.

      • mradey says:

        I should have made clear – Only Canon and HP printer cartridges are accepted for the Clubcard points scheme. Other printer manufacturers, for example, Epson, are accepted for recycling but do NOT generate any points.

  • The Original Nick. says:

    I remember those good old days…. and the 3v card days.

  • captaindave says:

    Nowhere near as reliable on actually getting the points compared to the previous sending them direct to Recycling Factory. Could be sitting in the box in Tesco store for a looooong time.
    Had 2 lots ( thankfully small numbers ) that i didnt get points for.
    Given up now, will just save them up and stick on Ebay.

  • Matt says:

    “allowing you to be environmentally conscious”… while earning points to subside (another) long haul flight?

  • rj24 says:

    I tried this earlier in the week. Not convinced I’ll get any points. The recycling unit was a generic one, with slots for other items as well. No envelopes and no signage regarding the points. Let’s see if anything lands…

  • Alex says:

    Can’t even find the recycling box in my two nearest Tesco’s and staff none the wiser. Old postal scheme was far better

  • Alex says:

    Can’t even find the recycling box in my two nearest Tesco’s and staff none the wiser. Old postal scheme was far better

  • MikL says:

    Dropped off 10 HP cartridges at my local Tesco 10 weeks ago and nothing posted.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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