Many users have taken the steps towards making changes in everyday life to lessen the impact on the environment. For example, choosing to receive documentation electronically, switching off a light when leaving a room and recycling old plastic all goes towards a greener environment.
However, there is a misconception that by refilling printer cartridges and purchasing remanufactured print cartridge, users are making a valuable carbon conscious decision. Some of these decisions may not be as green as users think.
Caron de Fortier, Hewlett Packard (HP) Imaging and Printing Group business unit manager at distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC), says, “Refilled and remanufactured print cartridges are often promoted as better for the environment. But beware. Because they are second hand, there is no way of telling how reliable they are.”
She goes on to explain that research by Innovationstechnik shows that original cartridges can deliver 69% more pages than those refilled at refill stations.
This of course results in a huge wastage, as more resources are consumed to get the job right. In addition, poorly designed cartridges are also
poorly recycled.
The solution De Fortier proposes is making sure to use a brand made of recycled material, which makes it easy for users to recycle. Not many people realise, for example, that recycled material can be used in the packaging, consumables and cartridges of printing ink.
“Many manufactures ensure products come in packaging that can be recycled alongside regular paper. Before buying your cartridges, check that the packaging can be fully recycled.”
Some of these companies have postage-paid labels supplied with the new cartridges. All users have to do is send them away to avoid them ending up in landfills. One such a company not only re-uses old cartridges and plastic bottles to produce new cartridges, but also has a “closed loop” lifecycle process in place.
“This comprehensive, integrated approach focuses on conserving resources during product development, manufacturing and subsequent use, while creating more opportunities for recycling. The objective behind this is products which offer high quality performance and reliability, use fewer hazardous materials, are more energy efficient and easier to recycle.”
De Fortier also offers a few simple tips on keeping printing green:
* When purchasing a printer, check to see if they have received any rewards for their efforts towards reducing their carbon footprint. “Examples of such accolades include the Best Corporate Citizens award, the Top Green-IT Vendors list and the Corporate Sustainability Index Benchmark Report.”
* Putting the onus back on the consumer – most people know they should print on both sides of the paper when possible, but not everyone knows how to do that. Some leading printers leave the factory with that setting in place, making sustainable printing second nature.
* Make use of the “print preview” option on the printer before wasting paper on incorrect page layout settings. In addition, slightly reducing the font size and page margins also aids in reducing paper consumption – resulting in a greener, more sustainable office.