California Agencies See Value in “Green” Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

By Lauren Yancey, Student Intern, CALPIA


The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) provides remanufactured printer and
fax machine toner cartridges at competitive prices.

This “green” product is one of the fastest growing of all CALPIA enterprises. Sales have increased nearly 47% since the last fiscal year, with current revenue at $255,891 and 6,664 cartridges sold as of April, 2012.

Since launching in November, 2010, CALPIA has sold over 10,000 remanufactured cartridges to California agencies.

CALPIA picks up used cartridges at no charge to the customer. This makes recycling an easy choice and also assists with marketing the replacement product. CALPIA is able to test, repair, and refill toner cartridges and list them for sale to customers through our product catalog.

Cartridge RepairIn 2010, the toner cartridge refurbishing enterprise employed six offenders from Folsom State Prison (FSP), and has since expanded to twelve fully trained o… enders. CALPIA’s Inmate Employability Program (IEP) is looking into an industry certification to help offenders gain employment upon release.

Vendors have assisted with maintaining the quality and consistency of our products as well as training of employees with both onsite instruction and video.


The enterprise recently moved to a location that has better ventilation, more spacious work areas, a central air system, and new innovative technology for the remanufacturing process, including tables that have built-in filtration systems that absorb the toner powders. This speeds the refurbishment process and helps maintain a cleaner work environment.

Cartridge Sales by YearBy streamlining the processes, entering into competitive cost comparisons, and negotiating with other vendors, costs have been reduced by over 40%. The enterprise has grown from producing only five to ten refurbished cartridges per day to now producing, on average, between 100 and 150 cartridges per day.

When CALPIA began the enterprise in 2010, only seven cartridge styles were o…ffered. Now, CALPIA offenders fourteen different types of cartridges. The quality of CALPIA’s remanufactured printer and toner cartridges meets or exceeds the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) standards, but are priced below commercial rates.



CALPIA also accepts cartridges that we do not yet remanufacture. Rather than throwing these away, CALPIA offenders them to vendors who provide credits for CALPIA to purchase other parts that are needed for the remanufacturing process.


Increasing sales from agencies and collaborative partnerships with vendors are establishing a bright future for CALPIA’s toner cartridge remanufacturing enterprise, as well as providing o…ffender training for employment in a growing “green” market.