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Walnut Creek, CA

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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!

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