Study Shows Many Cartridges Are Still Wasted

Most of us have a printer that, of course, uses cartridges to print. No big deal. Sooner or later, those cartridges get empty and utilized. This is amazing, but with current level of environment care and protection, most printer cartridges end up in landfill. The share of cartridges that are recycled or reused in a way, don’t even reach 50%, according to a new research done by InfoTrends.

The notorious “razor and blades” business model of printer makers suggests selling cheap hardware and making up on printer supplies. That has little to do with supporting environmental goals, since such approach generates more and more new toner and cartridges. On the other hand, original equipment manufacturers prohibit third parties re-manufacturers in every way from collecting, re-filling and recycling cartridges.

According to the InfoTrends research, gigantic amount of printer cartridges are used daily, and both original and third party manufacturers are eager to collect the largest amount of empty cartridges possible. The two sides have different way of dealing with collected cartridges: OEMs recycle them; broking down into component materials, while the re-manufacturers refill and resell cartridges, at lower prices.

The research says, re-manufacturers are more effective at gathering empty cartridges:

Third-party party supplies companies collect 70% more empty OEM toner cartridges and 700% more empty OEM inkjet cartridges than the OEMs themselves.

Original manufacturers seem to be using recycling as a way to keep used cartridges away from being remanufactured by third-party companies, who would then sell them cheaper, thus reducing OEM’s profit. This is also reflected in the research:

Through remanufacturing, 3rd party supplies companies are able, on average, to reduce overall demand for new cartridges by about 20%.

Another thing that make reuse of printer cartridges harder is a vast diversity of cartridge shapes and sizes. Should there be several standard types and sizes of cartridges, like with soda bottles, reuse will be a lot easier. Besides, cartridges a re simply not designed for reuse, because every following cycle of use reduces the possibility of making profit on the printer cartridge. This statement finds the support in the research:

80 percent of re-manufactured toner cartridges and 86 percent of re-manufactured inkjet cartridges are thrown away’ because it is uneconomic to refill them again.

Moreover, both OEMs and third party re-manufacturers are not “designed” yet to reuse printer cartridges:

Transparent and public reporting of environmental performance was not available from several OEMs or any of the re-manufacturers surveyed.

Those who support environment protection unlikely to see the situation changing until printer makers shift to other business model and start to design printer cartridges for reuse.

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