Good news, bad news on the green printer front

Good news, bad news on the green printer front

Summary: Some good news and bad news today about an oft-disrespected and overused piece of technology, printers.

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Some good news and bad news today about an oft-disrespected and overused piece of technology, printers.

Because one should always leave on a high-note, I'll start with the not-so-go-great info, which is this: The Electronics TakeBack Coalition has issued a report covering the recycling and product takeback efforts of many information technology and consumer electronics companies that suggests most printer companies have a long way to go in terms of developing programs for handling used supplies and printing/imaging devices. Hewlett-Packard fares most favorably on this list, but it only earns an average score.

Keep in mind that this particular organization is focused sharply on takeback and recycling programs, so this isn't a broad statement on the overall green-ness of the companies. Key criteria considered included how many collection sites there are per state, the volume of products being collected, and the way the technology or cartridges are handled once they are in-hand. But it does suggest that there is still progress to be made when it comes to design printers with environmental issues in mind.

Here's why the organization cares: many consumer printers have become ultra-cheap. Says Barbara Kyle, the national coordinator of the Electronics Takeback Coalition:

"If you don't offer physical collection sites or events, you are not serious about your takeback program. With so many cheap printers being practically disposable these days, the printer companies should be doing a lot more to make sure they get their old equipment back. Most of the printer companies simply offer mailback recycling programs, but statistics show that people won't mail back larger products like printers."

Admittedly, this report is rather geared on the consumer end of the market. And I'd like to point out that many of the top printer manufacturers have, at least, are addressing the design side of the equation. The latest examples are two new business class color printers from Xerox: the Xerox ColorQube 8870 ($2,499) and the Xerox ColorQube 8570 ($699 and up).

What makes these printers green? Here some of the specific features:

  • Energy Star compliance
  • Solid ink that is designed to generate up to 90 percent less waste than rival laser printer technology
  • Print drivers that default to two-sided printing and for using recycled paper more effectively
  • A power management feature called Intelligent Ready that uses artificial intelligence to take traditional usage patterns into account and power down accordingly
  • GreenPrint software that lets you know if you are about print unnecessary pages

Topics: Hardware, Banking, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Printers, Software

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7 comments
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  • RE: Good news, bad news on the green printer front

    Thanks for the warning so I can avoid those stupid printers.

    How about a list of the *least* Green products? Then Stupids can be shown products to avoid, and I can find products to give preference.

    http://www.xtimports.com/greenstupid/greenstupid.jpg
    hiraghm
  • RE: Good news, bad news on the green printer front

    Shouldn't "Green" also include the repairability of these devices instead of their instant disposability?
    Burgman
  • Out of toner scam

    Shouldn't "Green" also take into consideration which companies (listen up HP!) give you "out of toner" warnings long before the toner is gone. They even go to the point of preventing further printing even though the cartridge still has several hundred (yes really!) pages of toner left. Thank goodness for the Internet that helps us find workarounds so that we can save money and the environment at the same time.
    dathormo
  • RE: Good news, bad news on the green printer front

    Let us not forget that printer companies have sued 3rd party ink resellers and cartridge remanufacuring makers. All to keep those $30+ each cartridge prices sky high! This issue rules them all! Electricity efficiency, recycling, handling and green print software. A cartridge can be refilled at least a dozen times with relatively equivalent print quality to a new cartridge. A refill can cost as low as 25 cents each when you buy bulk inks. Compare with $30 cartridge, and even worse.. a trip to the brick and mortar store.
    tmc80tmc
  • good idea about printers

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    gavin.chan
  • Green printing

    It's good to hear that major printing companies are addressing these environmental issues. Printers and <a href="http://www.123inkjets.com/">printer cartridges</a> are some of the more wasteful things in electronics.
    rtaylormu
  • RE: Good news, bad news on the green printer front

    I like the idea of making print drivers that default to two-sided printing. I bought a Brother laser printer recently which has the option of two-sided printing. But it is not the default setting so I have to manually change it but sometimes I forget to do it. Besides a good printer recycle program, we also need to have a good program for <a href="http://www.inkesale.com/blog/recycle-used-hp-ink-cartridge-maintain-the-balance-of-nature/">ink cartridges and toner cartridges</a> recycle that can be accessed easily by the consumers.
    inkesale2011