Printer Ink Mostly Water, Still Costs More Than Champagne

Printer Ink Mostly Water, Still Costs More Than Champagne

Taryn Williford
Apr 28, 2011

It was really cool to pull up our taxpayer's receipt from the White House's website this year. We got to see exactly where each dollar we paid to Uncle Sam will be spent. Since that's settled, here's what's next on our agenda: Figuring out exactly what we're paying for with each cent spent on our $25 ink cartridge. Good thing Wired's already done the work.

What's inside your expensive ink cartridge? Well, dye. But that's just a teeny, tiny fraction of what's inside those cartridges.

Wired does the hard work and breaks it down for all of us, so we can see what we're really paying for when we shell out big bucks for printer cartridges.

Besides dye, the rest of your "ink" is a complicated cocktail of chemicals designed to orchestrate inkjet magic. There's solvents inside that control the viscosity of the ink, keep the solution from evaporating and try to prevent your printed paper from doing that curl-up thing.

But mostly? It's just water:

The ink in inkjet cartridges can be as much as 95 percent superpure deionized water. Yet at more than $3 per milliliter, it would be cheaper to print your vacation pics with Dom Perignon.

Consider that next time you're handing over two $20 bills to the cashier at Office Max.

Oh, and remember: Your printer throws away 40 percent of the ink in each cartridge anyway. Happy printing!

via Wired

(Images:, Flickr member bcostin licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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