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ETIRA demands ‘fast action’ following EU’s Circular Economy report

August 5, 2020

The European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) has issued an open letter to the EU, demanding ‘fast action’ to stop the ‘devastating impact’ the printing industry is having on the environment.

The letter, published on ETIRA’s website, responds to the EU’s Circular Economy report, stating that at present, consumers and small business owners are currently tied to buying expensive, environmentally damaging ink cartridge replacements from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), rather than being given the choice to reuse them time and again.

ETIRA is calling on the European Commission to end this negative cycle, by banning chips and firmware updates, introducing a minimum number for reuse cartridges, and by stopping the import of cheap and polluting single-use cartridges from outside the EU.

Javier Martinez, President of ETIRA, said: “We need fast action to stop consumers and smaller business owners being held hostage by the big OEMs.

“A change to the rules would give consumers the freedom to choose the type of ink cartridges they purchase, putting environmentally friendly reuse cartridges on the table. This will lead to a true business model change, completely aligned with the EU’s Green Deal and the EU’s 2020 Circular Economy Action Plan.  

“It is hard to believe, but today you need 26 cartridges to print 10,000 pages vs just one cartridge 20 years ago!

“With green issues so high on the agenda across Europe we need to see legislation to help us in the printing industry work to reduce, remake and recycle – creating a circular economy in printing, in line with the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan.”

According to ETIRA, “The current printing business model has a devastating impact on the environment, creating huge waste due to the short operational life of the printing hardware, combined with single-use cartridges.”

ETIRA cites a recent EU report on a voluntary agreement in the printing industry, found that:

  • Cartridges create 2.5% of total small and medium electronic appliances waste
  • Both the Small Office (SOHO) and home printer repair rate is zero
  • The average operating time for home printer usage is only five hours during its expected four years of operational life.
  • The average total cartridge operating time is just 19 minutes

Martinez added: “Sadly, buying a new machine is often cheaper than buying a new set of cartridges, meaning people throw away both the device and reusable cartridges. This has to stop.

“We support the EU’s 2020 proposal for a Circular Economy. However, its current suggestion to reduce the environmental impact of printing through a Voluntary Agreement for the printing sector can only be a real solution if it stops anti-cartridge reuse factors such as chips and firmware updates, creates a minimum number for reuse cartridges, and stops the invasion of cheap and polluting single-use non-OEM cartridges from outside the EU. “

ETIRA points to some new EU Circular Economy Action Plan highlights: “(…) have reduced impact due to the limitations of voluntary approaches. In fact, there is no comprehensive set of requirements to ensure that all products placed on the EU market become increasingly sustainable and stand the test of circularity. Priority will be given to addressing product groups identified in the context of the value chains featuring in this Action Plan, such as electronics, ICT and textiles”.

Martinez added: “We hope our Open Letter is effective in communicating this message and raising awareness of the urgent need for change”. Can anybody present an abuse case which is similar to the actual linear razor and blades printing model?

“ETIRA believes there is a real opportunity for change. New legislation in this industry would see environmental improvements and generate up to 25,000 new jobs across Europe.

“There is so much good to be gained from changes to this sector and we want to see this pushed up the agenda and discussed,” concluded Martinez.

To read ETIRA’s open letter to the European Commission, visit: www.etira.org.

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