A new recycling program aims to save overburdened landfills while also benefitting schools. Called the Educational Technology and Conservation Program, or ETCEP, it encourages schools to recycle used printer cartridges in exchange for new equipment.

Created by ERS Imaging Supplies, Inc., the program works like this: Schools collect empty laser and ink printer cartridges from students, parents, and members of the business community. The cartridges earn points which are accumulated and exchanged for computers and peripherals.

“With over 200 million of these cartridges thrown away each year–with an aggregate value of $550 million–this is a wonderful funding opportunity to schools and students throughout the country,” said David Steffens, program spokesman.

The program began as a pilot in southern New Hampshire last year and won praise from the state senate and commissioner of education.

ETCEP’s goal is to collect 25 percent of all disposed cartridges, which would raise more than $100 million for school technology each year. For information on how to participate, check out the program’s web site at http://www.etcep.com.