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CORPORATE CITIZEN

Saving the world with recycled ink cartridges

By: - Business Features Editor / @tinaarceodumlao
/ 01:08 AM November 21, 2011

It is not hard to imagine that every hour of every working day, a Filipino household or company uses up an ink cartridge produced by Hewlett-Packard (HP), one of the leading ink and printer brands in the Philippines.

Some of these spent cartridges are sold for a small fee to sidewalk vendors, who in turn resell them to companies refilling ink into the empty cartridges and passing them off as original HP products. But most simply end up in landfills, thus adding to the country’s mounting garbage woes.

Industry estimates show that as many as four of five of these spent cartridges end up in the dumps.

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HP in the Philippines is thus encouraging users of its ink products to consider a third and more environmentally sound alternative: send the cartridges back to the company or have the company collect the cartridges so that these can be used as a “raw” material in the production of a new batch of Original HP ink cartridges.

HP has so far manufactured over a billion Original HP Ink cartridges using the “closed loop” ink cartridge recycling process. Under this system, recyclable materials from the spent HP ink cartridges—mainly the plastic—is broken down and processed to the point that the plastic resin can be mixed with other materials, such as recycled water and soda bottles, to produce new ink cartridges.

The first Original HP ink cartridges manufactured with “closed loop” recycled plastic was brought to the market in 2005.

Annukka Dickens, HP’s head of environmental management, Asia-Pacific and Japan, said that HP is more conscious than ever of its carbon footprint considering the large number of products that it produces.

It is estimated that HP, one of the world’s largest information technology organizations, produces 3.5 products every second, including printers, computers and ink cartridges.

Dickens said during a recent media briefing in Vietnam that given this huge production scale, HP has to invest in strategies, systems and technologies to lessen its impact on the environment, and one of these is the “closed loop” ink cartridge recycling system.

“Recycling is at the heart of HP’s environmental goals,” Dickens said.

The Lavergne Group recently put up a new plastic compounding facility in Vietnam and Dickens said that the new facility will allow HP to increase the volume of Original HP Ink cartridges that can be manufactured using the “closed loop” recycling process.

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“We are excited to grow our collaboration with Lavergne in ‘closed loop’ ink cartridge recycling, which will help our customers who are using Original HP Ink reduce their impact on the environment,” Dickens said.

Through its HP Planet Partners Program available in 50 countries and territories, the company provides a system for commercial accounts or high-volume users of HP products to send over their spent cartridges for recycling.

The technology company said that the recycling efforts by customers and HP have kept 1.3 billion plastic bottles and more than 210 million HP ink cartridges out of landfills. Last year, HP used 6,000 tons of recycled plastic from plastic bottles and Original HP ink cartridges recovered through the HP Planet Partners program to manufacture new Original HP ink cartridges. This is equivalent to keeping 340 tractor-trailer loads of plastic from going into landfills.

Users of HP ink cartridges in the Philippines can do their share in the monumental recycling effort by keeping the spent cartridges out of the landfills and putting them back instead in the hands of HP.

One recycled cartridge means one less cartridge in the trash.

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TAGS: cartridge disposition, Environmental Issues, Hewlett-Packard, Recycling, waste management
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