Somehow, somewhere in the early ’80s, various individuals sporting sharp-looking 100% genuine fiber double-breasted suits with linebacker shoulder pads congregated together in a boardroom dreaming up ways to ensure that their brand spanking new and entirely convenient home office printers would yield a steady income stream. Oh, how they brainstormed, discussed and even pounded fists defiantly on a sleek desktop until they came upon a brilliant conclusion: Seduce consumers with a dirt-cheap piece of equipment and then make them pay through the nose with wildly overpriced ink cartridges throughout the lifespan of their product. They triumphantly cackled in unison while continually playing, rewinding and replaying The O’Jays’ “For the Love of Money” in their cassette player. This scenario may seem wildly dramatized for your entertainment, but it’s not too far from the truth. According to Yahoo! Finance, the average consumer shells out well over 500% of the purchase price of a printer solely on ink cartridges alone, which happens to equate to 71 cents per milliliter of fluid (that’s 31 cents higher than the same amount of blood, a liquid that has been proven to sustain and even save lives). We’ve been held financially hostage by Hewlett-Packard, Brother and company (which is bad enough), but we’ve also inadvertently played into a vicious cycle of consumer waste every single time we kick one of our empties to the curb. How bad is our collective eco-sin? Well, you’re not going to like the answer. For starters, when your printer notifies you that your ink runneth dry, in actuality, approximately 50% remains in the cartridge, which is then prematurely disposed of. Largely made of plastic (aka highly refined “solidified oil”), experts suggest that cartridges ultimately take from 200 to 400 years to fully break down in typical landfill conditions. It’s rather unfortunate that 80% of printer owners continue to ditch their empties (at a rate of approximately 13 every second or a full 1 million on a daily basis) when there are so many recycling programs available, some of which even offer financial compensation.
Printer Cartridge Empties: Life Beyond the Garbage Can?
A rip-off, yes. But also a serious landfill clogger: The nasty ink cartridge and how to properly get rid of it.