Lexmark has issued a call-to-action to the printer cartridge industry in Europe, urging it to support a range of measures to curb waste and encourage reuse and recycling. These measures support the European Commission’s recently adopted Circular Economy Package, a plan of action which includes measures to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy.
Lexmark estimates that 30 000 to 50 000 tonnes of printer cartridges end up in landfill each year as a result of the industry’s poor rate of collection from customers.
Nathan Nayagar, MD of Lexmark – South Africa & English Speaking Africa, says: “The concept of the circular economy is something that Lexmark has supported since it was founded in 1991 and the remanufacturing of printer cartridges has been at the core of the company’s business strategy since day one.
“With the European Commission having now published its new proposals for promoting the circular economy the timing is perfect to call on the printer cartridge industry in Europe to support measures to curb waste by encouraging reuse and recycling. We now call on our industry to promote sound practice and good policy to alleviate the issues around printer cartridge waste and the poor rates of collection and reuse.”
Lexmark has made significant strides in curbing waste and encourages reuse and recycling of its cartridges through the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP), a pioneering recycling initiative, and the availability of its Lexmark Corporate Cartridges, the company’s most sustainable line of cartridges which contain up to 90% reused components.
Lexmark is also a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s “Circular Economy 100” programme, that brings together 100 market-leading businesses to address the issues around the transition to the circular economy model. Lexmark’s membership is a recognition of the company’s ongoing commitment to building a regenerative economy.
In its submission to the European Commission’s “Preparatory Consultation on the Circular Economy”, Lexmark has called for legislative and regulatory changes to address the issue. These changes are in-line with the Commission’s goal to foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.
The submission states that the measures are needed not only to encourage the collection, reuse and recycling of printer cartridges in Europe, but also to allow companies that apply good environmental practice to compete on fair terms with those that do not.
Lexmark wants EU action to require:
* All suppliers to provide a free take-back facility for cartridges they place on the European market
* All printer cartridges sold in Europe by 2020 to include 50% remanufactured components or be recyclable
* Compulsory environmental criteria to be introduced into public procurement requirements as they relate to printer cartridges
* Remanufacturing and recycling of products to be promoted by user labelling intended to guarantee quality operating performance
* Disposal of printer cartridges to landfill or incineration without energy recovery to be made illegal by providing incentives for suppliers to collect and reuse their products.
Lexmark has proposed further measures to encourage material reuse having witnessed the benefits of going circular through its free and convenient printer cartridge take back service, the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP):
* The LCCP collection rate is 35%, nearly twice the industry average, and none of the cartridges returned to Lexmark are sent to landfill or for incineration
* Recycling a used Lexmark toner cartridge reduces its total carbon footprint by more than 50%
* Lexmark’s Corporate Cartridges can include up to 90% of reused components and 92% percent of all Lexmark cartridges contain post-consumer recycled content
* Remanufacturing is a core part of Lexmark’s business. By 2018 Lexmark aims to reuse 50% by weight of returned cartridges – up from an industry leading 34% today (Lexmark Lifecycle Assessment).