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June 25, 2007 – Printers are big business and so is printer waste. In a study conducted by InfoTrends and released today, information about the destination of all those disposed of ink and toner cartridges was revealed. Despite the need for remanufactured cartridges by third party companies, many cartridges are just thrown away or only remanufactured once. The United States trails Europe significantly in recycling efforts. Only some OEMs have recycling programs, and third party remanufacturing companies only reuse cartridges once. Through interviews with OEMs and remanufacturers as well as consumer research, Infotrends has collected large amounts of data on ink cartridge recycling and reuse, collected in their report, 2007 Supplies Recycling: U.S. and Europe. In many cases, both OEMs and remanufacturers did not reveal their environmental efforts. To their credit, the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that offer programs do indeed recycle their cartridges. But this only results in a small amount of recycling. Remanufacturers account for most of the used toner cartridges that end up being remanufactured. These companies collect seventy percent more toner cartridges and seven hundred percent more inkjet cartridges than the OEMs. InfoTrends reports that through their products, these companies have reduced demand for new cartridges by about twenty percent. Unfortunately, the cartridges are only reused once, since the companies have a strong preference for cartridges that have never been remanufactured before. InfoTrends reports that in the United States just ten percent of unusable remanufactured laser toner cartridges are recycled, while virtually no remanufactured, "integrated" inkjet cartridges are recycled. In Europe, fifty percent of remanufactured toner cartridge waste and thirty percent of remanufactured inkjet waste is recycled. These third party companies cite the high cost and lack of available recycling facilities as reasons for all of this waste. Many of the companies outsource their remanufacturing processes.More information on the study can be found at InfoTrends website.
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