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Printer Education | Ricoh’s and Samsung’s Toner Recycling Policies

Once again, we are back in the Ring of Recycling, where today Ricoh and Samsung are battling it out in Laser Printer Resource’s efforts to discover the company that makes it easiest for its customers to recycle their used toner cartridges.

Ricoh came out with a strong start. Its recycling page advertised that 95-100% of its used toner cartridges could be recovered for future use at its recycling plant which, by the way, generates “zero waste”; none of its products will end up in a landfill. Good to know!

A little farther down is some further information: Ricoh includes a prepaid shipping label with the products that it recycles. That’s convenient. However, Ricoh does not recycle all of its products. Indeed, it provides a drop-down menu so that you can find out whether or not you … should have a label with your product? Can print out a label for that product if you’ve lost the original label? There is no information.

Ricoh was definitely beginning to weaken. Although I am sure some people visit toner cartridge recycling pages in order to admire the beautifully written website copy, I suspect that most of them just want to return a cartridge, and a company that doesn’t tell them how to do that quickly and directly isn’t going to fare well in the ring of recycling.

Still, at least a drop-down menu meant that I didn’t have to type anything. Curious to see what would happen, I selected a few choices in the drop down menu. “All BW Printer Models,” I chose. “The toner cartridge supply for this Ricoh model is not included in the Toner Cartridge Return Program,” replied the website in big bold letters. Puzzled that black and white printer models would not have recyclable toner cartridges, I selected “PP BW MFP Models.” Same result. “All Color Printer Models?” Once again, the red letters. I tried numerous specific models with the same result.

Very likely, this was a website glitch. How embarrassing! There is definitely no printing out pre-paid shipping labels on Ricoh’s website. As a consolation, I could drop off these cartridges for free at a Ricoh sales location. Well, okay then. Ricoh is not much of a contender in this challenge.

Indeed, when Samsung entered the Ring of Recycling, it was all over. Like Ricoh, Samsung included pre-paid shipping labels, but if they weren’t there? By filling out some basic shipping information into a form that’s embedded on its recycling page, you can print out a pre-paid shipping label for any Samsung product. No fuss, no bother, no “we only recycle some of our products, and we’d like your social security number, your grandmother’s address, and the printer serial number before we’ll consider taking them back.” Nope, they just give you the label. As soon as you slap it on a box, the Samsung cartridge is ready to go back home.

The only two caveats are that Samsung’s website doesn’t work with Mozilla Firefox. I had to use Internet Explorer for the information to go through, and I also had to uncheck that friendly “be on our mailing list” box on Samsung’s form. With such a strong performance in ease of use, though, Samsung will be hard to beat!

Tune in next week for the final elimination match when Sharp takes on Xerox in the Ring of Recycling!

Printer Education | Kyocera Mita’s and Panasonic’s Recycling Policies

Kyocera Mita and Panasonic don’t have as much big name recognition for laser printing technology like the giants Hewlett Packard and Brother, but they are smaller only on the scale of multinational corporations. In the Ring of Recycling, they will be held to the same question: How easy is recycling their used up toner cartridges?

Panasonic, like a good legal contract, states its recycling policies briefly: it recycles only certain popular fax toner cartridges. These are eight in total, one of which is from a discontinued product line. Panasonic is still honoring its recycling policy for this product, but this is somewhat less impressive considering that Panasonic produces considerably more than eight types of cartridges.

The products that Panasonic does recycle come with ARS labels in their original packaging that allow customers to ship the used toner for recycling for free. If you have lost the ARS label, you can submit a request online for a new label. When I did this, filling out my name, phone number, email, and address as was required, I received in reply a line thanking me for submitting my request. What will come of this request has yet to be realized.

Overall, Panasonic’s recycling policies are far from spectacular, but they are, at least, straightforward. Kyocera Mita won’t have to try very hard to beat them.

Sadly, Kyocera Mita barely tries at all. Its recycling page includes an address and instructions for shipping empty toner cartridges, all of which is clearly and concisely explained. It does have some resources for recycling the laser printer byproducts it creates. Unfortunately, all shipping charges are up to the customer. Kyocera Mita will pay for the recycling (or possibly profit from it), but if you want to recycle with Kyocera Mita, you’ll be paying out of pocket.

Panasonic is clearly the best of the worst. Let’s hope for better next week as two more underdogs in the printing world, Ricoh and Samsung,  go toner to toner in the Ring of Recycling.

Walnut Creek, CA Hewlett Packard’s and Konica Minolta’s Toner Recycling Policies

In this week’s match, Hewlett Packard and Konica Minolta go head-to-head in the Ring of Recycling as they answer the question: how easy is sending back used printer cartridges?

Both companies come out strongly at first, advertising their environmentally friendly policies. Both have easy-to-find pages where customers can print out shipping labels. Both require some customer information. But then, one company starts to take the lead.

Hewlett Packard has a fairly painless process. You have to fill out a form with the number of cartridges in the box, your name, address, telephone number and email address. Why they need these last two pieces of information is a suspicious mystery to me, but they don’t automatically opt you into their mailing list. You have to select yes or no. Then you can print a label, and send your printer cartridges for recycling.

Konica Minolta requires the same information, minus the number of cartridges. Unfortunately, they use that information to automatically opt you into their marketing email list unless you uncheck the box. Never miss an opportunity to sneak a mailing list subscription by your customers, I guess.

Plus, you have to include the industry you work in, the product category of the used supplies you’re returning, and the serial number of your machine. I know nothing makes my day crawling around the back of a printer squinting at the serial number.

You aren’t quite done. You have one more click: an acceptance of their terms and conditions. One rule of life: don’t sign a legal document without reading it. By signing this contact, you legally agree that “Konica Minolta reserves the right to recover costs for shipping and recycling for unauthorized items returned using our program.”

Unauthorized items include “packaging Material including cartons, bubble wrap etc…,” “multiple items returned in a non-Clean Planet recycling box,” and my favorite, improperly wrapped printer cartridges. I kid you not. If you don’t seal your used toner products in plastic bags, “Konica Minolta reserves the right to charge customers for returns due to items that leak due to improper shipping.”

That’s right. Recycle the way Konica Minolta wants you, or else.

Hewlett Packard wins this round! Next week, Kyocera Mita and Panasonic will step into the Ring of Recycling. Stay tuned…

Printer Education | Brother’s and Canon’s Toner Recycling Policies

Today we’ll be comparing two of the big names in printer, laser printer, and copier ink manufacturers: Brother and Canon. One of the marks of a company that is truly dedicated to “green” business policies is how easy it is to recycle with that company. If a recycling program is difficult to use, people are unlikely to use it, which means more ink and plastics dumped into landfills. Once we’ve gone through all ten companies, the Laser Printer Resource Blog will rank the toner recycling programs from best to worst!

Of Brother and Canon, Brother is far and away the easiest recycling program to use. It’s so simple it’s almost ridiculous: you pack up your used Brother products, print out the prepaid shipping label directly from its webpage, slap it on the box, and drop the box in the mail. There’s no fuss about what products Brother will or will not accept; they take everything that they make back.

Canon, by contrast, goes out of its way to make recycling difficult. First, you have to register, and you’re required to provide your name, address, and email. If you don’t uncheck the box that says, “I would like to be notified about new products and services in future,” you get automatically signed up for Canon’s email marketing program. Just what everyone wants: more junk email!

Once you’ve registered, you go to the next screen, where Canon has you select the product that you will be returning – and get this, it doesn’t even accept all of its products back. If your product is not on the drop-down list, a little “help” link explains why: “It may not be a toner “cartridge” – this program does not currently accept toner, starter or developer “bottles” or other containers.”

Oh, Canon. Don’t responsible printing companies make sure all the products that they produce don’t go to landfills?

Along with this is the friendly warning: “Any unauthorized use may result in the return to sender at sender’s expense” and “Canon reserves the right to deny future access in case of unauthorized use.”

But you still aren’t done! First you must select your machine’s model number from a drop-down menu and THEN go to your machine to type in the serial number. Since I don’t own a Canon machine (and am glad of it, with their recycling policies!), I had to give up at this point.

Two big companies. Two completely different green policies. Tune in next week to see Hewlett Packard and Konica Minolta face off!

Printer Education | Toner Cartridge Refurbishing versus Recycling

Comparing toner recycling programs – One of the hallmarks of a good environmental policy for a manufacturer of printers, copiers, and ink and toner cartridges is how they deal with the waste products that are inevitable when the ink runs out or the fuser runs the natural course of its life.

The major toner manufacturers, Brother, Canon, Hewlett Packard, Konica Minolta, Kyocera Mita, Panasonic, Ricoh, Samsung, Sharp, and Xerox, have developed recycling programs for their cartridges. However, these programs are not all equal; some are highly selective about the cartridges that they will accept.

As a matter of fact, many of the cartridges they take back are worth money because they can be easily refurbished and sold. By replacing a few worn parts and refilling their supplies of ink, the manufacturers can cheaply create a fully functional product. By and large, though, this can only be done once.

For the most part, only the new from the manufacturer cartridges, also known as OEM cartridges, can be reliably refurbished, reused, or remanufactured. Then they can be resold.  Many charities and schools hold even fundraisers for OEM toner cartridges.

Toner cartridges that have been refurbished or products not designed for easy refills are more of a problem. They must be broken apart and recycled. It is the manufacturers’ policies on these less desirable toner cartridges that we will look at closely.

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BIO: Are you a business owner? Looking for a way to get more visibility on the search engines? Join our exclusive team of industry experts. Click the MY WEBSITE link above to view a 5 minute demo of our service or call (888) 599-5675. Space is limited.