If you're the owner of an inkjet or multifunction printer from Hewlett-Packard, those little green recycling packets that you find in your replacement ink cartridge packages are about to go away. That's because the company's imaging group has begun piloting a new HP Planet Partners print and cartridge return program at more than 1,500 Staples retail locations around the United States. The effort is part of the broader HP Eco Solutions initiative.
John Solomon, vice president and general manager for the North American Consumer Business, HP Imaging and Printing Group (whew!), says that the HP cartridge recycling program is expanding to accommodate the heightened consumer awareness around recycling of print consumables. The company has recycled more than 250 million cartridges since it began to recycle them in 1991. In fact, it is doubling the size of the North American ink cartridge recycling facility to more than 80,000 square feet as part of the recycling program evolution. So, the evolution is, in some ways, about helping reduce shipping costs related to the program. Plus, think about all those little envelopes that have to be printed. That, in itself, is a waste when it comes to product packaging.
HP uses plastics from recycled cartridges to create new cartridges; up to 50 percent to 70 percent of the total plastics in cartridges are now recycled, by some estimates. HP has also pioneered the use of recycled plastics (not from cartridges, though) in a couple of its newer printers, the HP Deskjet D2545 (83 percent of its plastic parts are from recycled materials) and the HP Photosmart D5400 series (55 percent of its printhead comes from recycled content plastic).
Jean Gingras, environmental manager for the HP Imaging and Printing group, says the company will still accept inkjet cartridges that are sent back with the green envelopes OR that are sent back by printing a shipping label from the HP Web site. At this time, there is no strict programmatic change that would affect laser printer toner cartridges that customer buy through commercial channels or online. What that means is that shipping labels will still be included in the LaserJet toner cartridge packaging so they can just ship them back, although customers can opt for in-store recycling at Staples location if they want.
The Staples trial will run for between three and six months, according to the HP executives. As an incentive, Staples will give recyclers a $3 Staples Reward for each HP ink cartridge or LaserJet toner cartridge that is recycled in store. More details are available at this link or this one. You can expect additional recycling partners, drop-off locations and countries to come online over time. But for now, this program is limited to Staples in the United States.
Hey, by the way, since we're on the topic of recycling (again), did you know that America Recycles Day is coming? It is indeed, on Nov. 15. Here's more info and potentially some tips for your edification.