Thursday, December 21, 2006

Emiliano v. Epson

One of our readers, Emiliano emailed me a recent exchange with Epson about recycling his printer cartridges. Here it is:

what should i be doing with my printer ink cartridges? is there an
environmentally sound way of recycling them? i have a stylus photo r2400.

-----Original Message-----
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 07:52:19
Subject: Re: ink cartridges

Dear Emiliano,
Thank you for your interest in recycling used Epson inkjet cartridges.  Due to the design of our inkjet cartridges, we do not refill or remanufacture them.  Neither of these alternatives is cost effective.  Nor do we have a program set up to receive them for recycling at this time.  We are continuing to search for the most cost effective, consumer friendly and
environmentally sound program available for disposal.

In the meantime, we recommend that you contact your local City Government and participate in their recycling and e-waste efforts whenever possible. We appreciate your support of Epson products and we thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance to you

Margaret C
Recycle Support

From: egranado@....>
Date: Dec 20, 2006 11:43 AM
Subject: Re: ink cartridges

Hi margaret,
Thanks for your reply.
However, that answer leaves me quite unsatisfied. I think epson should be doing more to offset their impact on the environment. Especially since your business model calls for consumers to continually purchase new cartridges.
I'm not sure of the chemical makeup of the cartridges, but I'd bet that they require lots of petroleum to manufacture and take many decades to decompose. How are we ever going to decrease our dependency on foreign oil and clean up our landfills with corporate policy like yours?

I encourage your company to try harder and rethink your "buy and throw away" inkjet business model.
Until then, I will begin contemplating using other printer brands with a more comprehensive understanding of their environmental impact
Thank you,

'Neither of these alternatives is cost effective'? Oh well then, better forget all about it, even if:

- Stacked end to end cartridges thrown away in one year would cover a distance of over 24,000 miles = enough to circle the earth.
- Every year 1 billion ink-jet cartridges are sold worldwide.
- Only 3% of those cartridges are recycled.
- 95% of all ink jet cartridges were taken to landfills. 5000 metric tons of plastic and metal every month. (from

Bloody hell, US corporations need a stern talking to. Luckily lots of other organizations have taken matters into their own hands. Many collect them for charity (try and choose the charity you weant to support). Or you can get cash back for your cartridges: in the US, offer up to $3.60 per cartridge. And if you want to boycott companies like Epson until they start doing more, you can buy reused and refilled cartridges from for much less than the big corporations so you never need use a new cartridge - or give them your money - again. I just don't get how all these people can make money for charity if it's not cost effective, but anyway....Emmy wants you to email the lady at Epson. Go for it.

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