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ETIRA and DKWU challenge Lexmark Blue Angel certification

June 27, 2023

ETIRA and the DKWU have lodged a complaint against Lexmark Germany for anti-competitive practices and challenged their Blue Angel certification.

ETIRA, the European Toner & Inkjet Remanufacturers Association and DKWU, the Deutsche Kartuschen Wiederaufbereitungs-Unternehmen association have filed a complaint against Lexmark Germany with RAL gGmbH, urging the organization to review and address the alleged violations of the BLUE ANGEL eco-label criteria by Lexmark’s blocking firmware and the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Programme (LCCP).

This joint action comes in response to Lexmark’s alleged anti-competitive practices that hinder the use of remanufactured cartridges, primarily through the implementation of firmware updates and the LCCP.

In their formal complaint, ETIRA and DKWU have drawn attention to Lexmark’s deployment of the FW CSNZJ.081.225. firmware update on its complete range of printers in January 2023. According to the complainants, this firmware update effectively blocks the use of remanufactured cartridges on Lexmark printers and multifunctional devices that operate with the updated firmware. Notably, the complaint highlights that this action contradicts Criterion 3.1.1.3 of the esteemed BLUE ANGEL eco-label, which specifically states that “the use of refurbished toner modules and refurbished ink modules and containers according to DIN33870-1 and 33870-2 is not prevented by constructive, software-based or other measures.” ETIRA and DKWU have identified 119 printer and multifunctional device models from Lexmark that allegedly violate this criterion due to the blocking firmware and LCCP.

Expressing concern over Lexmark’s conduct, Volker Kappius, an ETIRA Board Member and spokesperson for DKWU, stated, “Lexmark’s exploitation of BLUE ANGEL certification for printers and MFPs, while simultaneously obstructing the use of remanufactured cartridges through firmware updates and the LCCP, is a clear disregard for consumer choice and an example of greenwashing.” Kappius added, “However, it is not just Lexmark that is undermining the credibility of the BLUE ANGEL eco-label. RAL gGmbH, the entity responsible for issuing BLUE ANGEL certifications, has failed to take immediate action, even temporarily, by removing the questioned Lexmark products. How can consumers trust a certification failing to meet its requirements?”

The complaint lodged by ETIRA and DKWU urges RAL gGmbH to conduct a comprehensive review of all Lexmark BLUE ANGEL registrations, with a specific focus on identifying the presence of blocking firmware and evaluating the compliance of the LCCP with eco-label requirements.

In May this year, the International Imaging Technology Council (I-ITC) filed a complaint against HP Inc. with the Global Electronics Council (GEC), accusing HP of preventing the use of remanufactured cartridges in its “Dynamic Security” and “HP+” printers while marketing them as EPEAT-registered.

According to the complaint, HP’s product documentation reveals that these printers are designed to block non-manufacturer cartridges, which contradicts the criteria set by EPEAT. The complaint identifies 86 printer models with statements conflicting with EPEAT Criterion 4.9.2.1, but it calls for a review of all HP EPEAT registrations for the presence of Dynamic Security and HP+ printers.

The I-ITC asserts that HP’s actions not only limit consumer choice but also constitute greenwashing. The complaint urges the GEC to revoke all EPEAT certifications for the implicated devices, take enforcement action against HP, and thoroughly review all other HP products with EPEAT certifications. The I-ITC emphasizes the importance of upholding the integrity of ecolabel certifications in ensuring environmental performance and holding manufacturers accountable.

Categories : World Focus

Tags : Blue Angel DKWU ETIRA HP Lexmark RAL gGmbH

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