HP has had a recycling program for electronic hardware since 1987 and has recovered over 2.3 billion pounds of product that are reused or recycled. Our hats are off to HP for this effort due to the serious effects E-waste has had globally. Millions of tons of E-waste are collected and shipped off to third world countries and dumped for the locals to sort through and gather materials they can resell. They get paid pennies for this labor and when they have recovered everything of worth, the town is left to deal with the waste. So for HP to help in this area is great, but what about HP’s new Planet Partners program for recycling inkjet’s and toners?
The program was started in 1991 mainly to keep as many ink jet and toner cartridges out of the hands of the recycling industry. HP does not want the consumer to have an alternative to their high-priced printer supplies. Yes they are recycling, but how? Are they recycling by reusing the empty ink jet and toner cartridges they get back? Did they implement this program for the good of the consumer? Let’s look a little closer at what HP is doing with the empty’s they get back.
When HP get’s these empty’s they put them through industrial shredders that destroys the cartridges as far as reusing them again as printer cartridges. HP does reuse the plastics to help them make new cartridges which is a good thing but wouldn’t it be better to reuse the original cartridges until they are no longer useful for this purpose? It takes much more energy to shred & reform the plastic into new cartridges than it does to simply remanufacture them. To improve the chances that HP will get as many cartridges out of circulation they insert prepaid return shipping bags in each of the boxes their product comes in. They also supply a toll free number & an on line ordering site, all with free shipping & packaging material. Sure does make everyone feel warm & fuzzy thinking they are doing the right thing which is exactly what HP wants. HP has pushed hard to implement this program world-wide.
By HP dong their best to cut off the supply of empty’s to the recycling industry, they are creating a man-made shortage of raw material, this is the real reason behind HP’s recycling program. Short supply of cartridges will drive the price up, put some of the players out of business and in the end drive up the prices of the remanufacted cartridges you the consumer buy. Talk about controlling the market.
If you really want to recycle and help to keep the cost of ink and toner down while giving you the consumer the choice of buying new or remanufactured then don’t send your empties to HP or any of the other major manufactures of ink or toner cartridges. Drop them off at your local printer supply store that specializes in remanufactured cartridges and they will make sure they get recycled properly so you the consumer will get the benefit.