Hewlett-Packard is boosting its effort to effectively recycle used inkjet printer cartridges, Wednesday introducing a new process that manufactures new cartridges from recycled cartridges that are separated and rebuilt from scratch.
The “closed loop” process gives used HP inkjet cartridges a sustainable end-of-life value and puts the material back to good use while being environmentally friendly.
The process first breaks down plastic in printer cartridges made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), after which additives including fibers and resins are used to strengthen and regenerate the plastic. The remolded plastic is then used to manufacture new HP inkjet cartridges.
The plastics or cartridges are not melted, refilled, resold or sent to a landfill, HP said. The process also applies to other products, like PET water bottles.
The process, which went into pilot in 2005, has already resulted in HP manufacturing 200 million printer cartridges. The process will go into full manufacturing now.
Each inkjet cartridge contains 70 percent to 100 percent recycled material. Users will find the process beneficial as cartridges with new material perform better than used or refilled cartridges.
HP allows users to return inkjet cartridges worldwide for free in most cases through its recycling program, said Ken Fleming, marketing director of supplies for HP. In some cases, a postage-paid return envelope is provided by HP with the inkjet print cartridge box.
The process will apply only to HP cartridges, the company said. No external inkjet cartridge brand is being put through the new recycling process.
Before the implementation of the new process, not all plastic recovered went into making new cartridges. They were used by others to manufacture products including auto parts and toys.
The inkjet cartridge recycling initiative is the latest in HP’s broad effort to be environmentally friendly. HP recently announced that it would implement more energy-efficient technologies across its PC lines to reduce computer energy use by 25 percent in 2010.