Tiffinite Audrey Jackson has opened an online ink and toner store called UpCycle Ink at www.upcycleink.com.
Jackson said she was born and raised in Tiffin, and she's happy to be helping other small business owners add to their bottom line by reducing office expenses and helping them "go green" at the same time.
"After running an office for years, I realized office supplies such as ink and toner cartridges can take up a pretty good chunk of the office supply budget," she said.
When she tried to find good remanufactured or compatible ink, she got mixed results, so she decided to research the topic.
"The thing is, it is hard to find a company you can trust to buy good-quality remanufactured or compatible ink when there are so many advertising the 'best,'" she said. "This led me to start my own online ink and toner store."
A 2004 graduate of Columbian High School, Jackson attended a semester at Tiffin University before transferring to Findlay's Owens Community College to finish her degree.
She married Anthony Jackson, and their son, Jakobi, was born in 2010.
"He was really my inspiration to start my own business and make my job work around my family and not the other way around," she said.
Jackson's research led her partner with a few certified suppliers.
"STMC (standardized test methods committee) certification is especially important because, unlike years ago when the industry of remanufactured cartridges was unregulated, there is now a standard set of quality tests and guidelines a company must meet to ensure the quality of the remanufactured cartridge is equal to a brand new cartridge, like the ones you would buy at the big-box stores," she said. "Not all sellers of remanufactured or compatible ink have this certification, and that can mean a lower quality and less-consistent product."
STMC certification means the cartridge has met industry standards and has been through a series of quality tests to ensure the quality is equal to the quality of a cartridge purchased from an original equipment manufacturer.
The company offers remanufactured ink when available and compatible ink. She said remanufactured cartridges actually are original cartridges that have been rebuilt, while compatible cartridges are new cartridges that match the quality of a brand-name cartridge.
"I compare it to buying a generic prescription," she said. "The technology is the same, but it is much less expensive."
At UpCycle Ink, Jackson said all cartridges sold meet STMC standards.
"If the customer isn't satisfied, they can receive their money back," she said. "It's that simple. We are here to provide a well-made, quality product which is going to save our customers money while reusing a product that would otherwise end up in a landfill."
The name refers to the process of reusing cartridges. To recycle, customers should click on the "Recycle here" button on the website's home page. They are sent to a page where they can print a free shipping label which allows a customer to box up their own cartridge and send it to be remanufactured, if possible, or recycled properly. There is no cost to send in cartridges.
"This is a very important feature of our business," she said. "It assures that there is going to be enough cartridges in the future to be remanufactured and it also keeps the cartridges out of landfills."
Cartridges that can't be remanufactured are broken down into smaller usable materials. Nothing ends of up the landfill.
"Although customers are not required to send in their cartridges, it does complete the recycling circle," she said. "At UpCycle Ink it is a win-win. You are saving green while going green."
The service is available to big or small businesses or households that use ink.
She offers 25 percent off a customer's first purchase if they email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a customer can't find the printer model, he or she also can email for assistance.
"If you are skeptical on the quality, just purchase one," she said. "After you see the savings and experience the quality of our products you will be hooked."
Customers also can order by email at email@example.com or call her at (419) 618-6239 to request a catalog.