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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…

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