This post was written in partnership with Cartridges Direct.
It disappoints me to admit… mine is not a paperless office. As the printer spits out page after page of whatever I happen to be working on, my husband will wryly comment, “Saving the world again, dear?” Sigh. I am yet to find a way to proofread long documents without printing them first, which means I am a consumer of ink, printers and paper.
I learned the hard way that cheap printers are a complete scam. When my $70 HP printer carked it exactly one year and one day after I bought it, I phoned the retailer, manufacturer and various fix-it type people who all told me the same thing: it’s not worth fixing, luv; better off buying a new one.
These “disposable” printers are designed to fail (this is known as planned obsolescence). They are also designed to churn through ink cartridges, which ends up costing a lot more in the end. But thanks to Planet Ark and forward-thinking manufacturers, this can cost the earth a lot less if all those cartridges are recycled.
Recycle printer cartridges
Cartridges for Planet Ark is a collection program sponsored by a group of printer/cartridge manufacturers. In the eleven years the scheme has been operating, a massive 23 million cartridges have been diverted from landfill.
The collected cartridges are sorted by a Melbourne-based waste solution company Close the Loop, and are either sent back to the manufacturer to be recycled or put through Close the Loop’s recycling program. Toner powder, metals, inks and plastic are all extracted and reused, ideally to make more printer cartridges.
That’s all pretty exciting, but still millions of other ink cartridges, plus toner bottles, drum units and fuser kits, end up in landfill.
If you’re not already, start collecting your printer ink cartridges and drop them into a Cartridges for Planet Ark box. You’ll find these at one of 4000 Officeworks, Dick Smith, Australia Post, Harvey Norman, JB HiFi or The Good Guys stores. Visit www.recyclingnearyou.com.au to find your nearest location.
Currently, the participating manufacturers are Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Oce, Toshiba, Lanier, Fuji Xerox Australia, Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp, Lexmark. These companies pay for the recovery of their cartridges and other print consumables (this is known as extended producer responsibility).
If you have a business or want a collection point at your workplace, you can register for a collection box.
How to use your printer efficiently
There are many things you can do to make your home or work office printer more efficient. Printing on both sides reduces paper waste, and using the draft setting as your default uses significantly less ink.
Simon Williams from Cartridges Direct says, “Most brands of printer manufacturers are coming to the market with models that are extremely efficient in terms of ink-use. HP has the Officejet series, Epson has the Workforce and Lexmark has its Pinacle range. All of these machines use inkjet technology, which is more durable and efficient.”
When choosing a new printer, Simon says the golden rule is to only buy a machine with the features you need. When my el-cheapo printer with scan and colour facility died, I thought long and hard and decided I only needed a printer that would churn out black and white pages at a pretty low resolution. Four big editing jobs later and I’m still on the first ink cartridges. Hurrah!
On the topic of $70 printers, Simon says, “Don’t go for the cheapest machine on the market; I can assure you, the cost of replacement cartridges is always more expensive.”
One final tip from Simon is to always purchase genuine ink cartridges, “as one in four generic-brand ink cartridges will fail when first installed into printers.”
Where possible, support the brands that have demonstrated extended producer responsibility, and choose printers and cartridges from the brands involved in the Cartridges for Planet Ark scheme.
To find out more about Cartridges for Planet Ark click here.
This post was written in partnership with Cartridges Direct, one of Australia’s leading suppliers of genuine printer, copier and fax cartridges, offering all the leading brands and super-speedy delivery. Please support businesses that support Down To Earth Mother (what’s that all about?)