Monday, August 8, 2011

Hey HP and Canon – make it easier to recycle printers too!

Hi Waste Free Folks,

Below is a guest post from Suellen Mele, Zero Waste Washington’s Program Director. Zero Waste Washington advocates for the design and production of healthier, safer products that are continually recycled and reused.

Personally - I LOVE this organization and their new post-card project (which is free to you!). I am especially excited about adding printers after having gone through FOUR printers in the past year - OUCH! The first printer quit after almost 8 years of use (pretty good, but could be better!) However, each subsequent printer purchased broke after very minimal usage (ARGH - right in the middle of deadlines too!) Fortunately two of the printers were still on warranty, however, the most recent purchase (Dec 2010) still needs to be returned sometime this week (life is busy, eh?). Needing a "backup printer plan" for my business, I broke down and purchased the store's "extended warranty" ... I hope it is worth what I paid for it.

So in my "four printers in one year" opinion, Zero Waste Washington's latest campaign to add printers into the ever growing and expanding electronics market for take-back is imperative for the future of waste prevention and sustainability. Also (listen up producers) this is a great marketing and sales niche for responsible producers and manufacturers that really do care about their customers, our environment and above all doing "the right thing".

Check out the guest post below, send in a post-card and support businesses and non-profits working to reduce overall waste by asking manufacturers and producers to be more responsible.

Oh and feel free to send me interesting or important items for the blog, and let me know what you think about any blog post - anytime!

Best always, Kim

Have a computer or TV to recycle? There’s a free and convenient solution! Have a printer to recycle? It’s not so easy.

That’s why Zero Waste Washington is asking the two biggest printer manufacturers in the U.S. for free and convenient recycling programs for desktop printers. You can join us by sending postcards asking HP and Canon to step up and do more.
We’re asking for something called producer responsibility, and it’s already happening for computers and TVs here in Washington. Throughout the state, you can recycle your computers, monitors, and TVs through the E-Cycle Washington program. Zero Waste Washington fought hard for this manufacturer funded program and, as a result, over 39 million pounds of electronics were recycled last year. That’s about 2,200 units diverted from landfills and incinerators each and every day!
With this approach, manufacturers take responsibility for their products from “cradle to cradle,” including providing and paying for recycling programs. Residents, small business and schools can drop off their unwanted computers, monitors and TVs for free recycling at about 260 locations throughout Washington. The manufacturers have agreed to recycle responsibly, which helps keep our discarded computers and TVs – that contain mercury, lead and other toxic materials - from being sent to developing countries. It’s good for the economy, too. E-Cycle Washington has brought additional recyclers to the state and created close to 80 new jobs.

But printers aren’t collected as part of the E-Cycle Washington program. The 2006 state legislation that mandated the program didn’t include printers or other peripherals. While some manufacturers have voluntarily set up printer mail-back programs (often for a fee), that just isn’t very convenient for most of us.
Zero Waste Washington thinks printer manufacturers can do better! We are working to have producer responsibility for desktop printers in Washington. You can help us make it happen! Please ask HP and Canon to make it easier and more convenient for consumers in Washington to take back printers for recycling. You can click here to sign on and we’ll send postcards to HP and Canon on your behalf.

Here’s one final reason to support producer responsibility. When manufacturers pay to recycle the products they make, they have a financial incentive to design products that are less toxic, longer lasting, and more recyclable. And that means less waste and greener, safer stuff for all of us.