Categories: Green-ITInnovation

Lexmark Wants To Make Throwing Away Ink Cartridges Illegal

Printing giant Lexmark has today put out a fresh call for action to Europe’s printer cartridge industry urging for increased measures to curb waste.

As part of the effort, Lexmark is calling on the EU to make illegal the disposal of ink cartridges to landfill sites or incineration without efforts made beforehand to recycle.

An estimated 300 million printer ink cartridges end up being thrown away every year in the United States alone, and Lexmark, despite being part of the problem itself by manufacturing the cartridges, wants consumers to know it is doing all it can to be environmentally friendly.

Circular economy

“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,” said Udo Schlauch, Lexmark’s EMEA general manager.

The circular economy is the name given to the process of reusing, recycling, and re-manufacturing materials for further use.

“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,” said Schlauch.

Lexmark has made efforts before to bolster its green credentials. The company’s Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program is a recycling initiative for cartridges, and some of Lexmark’s own cartridges use up to 90 percent recycled materials in their construction.

But this is not enough, said Lexmark.

In its submission to the European Commission’s “Preparatory Consultation on the Circular Economy”, Lexmark has demanded legislative and regulatory changes to address the issue.

Other proposals by Lexmark include making all cartridge suppliers to provide a free take-back facility for cartridges sold on the European market. Lexmark also wants all printer cartridges sold in Europe to include at least 50 percent re-manufactured components by 2020.

The EU has already set up plans to curb waste, but has not yet implemented legal rules for cartridge vendors.

Re-manufacturing is a core part of Lexmark’s business, according to the firm, but by 2018 Lexmark aims to reuse 50 percent by weight of returned cartridges.

Last week, people familiar with the matter told Reuters that Lexmark is considering the possibility of breaking up its hardware and software division. Lexmark has reportedly also held discussions with potential buyers of the entire business, but any offers have not yet been in line with its own valuation expectations, sources said.

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Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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