*NEWS*REUSE , NOT REFUSE

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*NEWS*REUSE , NOT REFUSE

 user 2006-05-31 at 10:34:00 am Views: 48
  • #15608

    Reuse, not refuse
    Did
    you know that 300 million printer cartridges come to their final
    resting place in the nation’s landfills each year? Or that it takes
    roughly a gallon of oil to produce the plastic in a laser printer
    cartridge?New businesses are hoping to profit on these dramatic
    environmental impacts and persuade customers into remanufacturing or
    refilling cartridges locally. In doing so, those customers will also
    save money.Fort Collins is now home to three new printer cartridge
    refilling and remanufacturing stores, and their message is hard to
    ignore.PrintOne, a printer cartridge remanufacturing operation founded
    and based in Fort Collins, opened its first store at 1538 E. Harmony
    Road a year ago. In April, PrintOne opened an Old Town location at 130
    S. College Ave., and the company recently franchised a third store in
    Colorado Springs.”The concept is pretty powerful from an environmental
    standpoint,” said Matt Ottenberg, president of PrintOne. “We recycle
    everything – not just cartridges, but paper and cardboard, too. In
    addition, we can offer great savings over new cartridges, and we’re a
    locally owned business.”Cartridge World, a worldwide cartridge
    refilling franchise that started several years ago in Australia and now
    operates more than 400 stores in the United States, licensed its first
    Fort Collins franchise at 2614 S. Timberline Road in April.”There is no
    downside to what we do,” said Steve Page, who co-owns the local
    Cartridge World franchise with his wife, Patti. “This is a good thing
    environmentally and from a cost-savings standpoint. Our customers get a
    high degree of quality and a high degree of value.”There’s nothing new
    about printer cartridge remanufacturing and recycling. Laser printer
    cartridges have been remanufactured for more than 12 years. However, as
    quality has been an issue, new products have continued to dominate the
    industry.In the past, recycling often meant eco-conscious businesses
    merely returned their spent cartridges to manufacturers such as
    Hewlett-Packard in pre-paid shipping boxes, never sure of their
    ultimate fate.Hewlett-Packard, the long-time leader in printer
    cartridge sales, says it has been recycling those cartridges for 14
    years through the company’s HP Planet Partners Program.In a written
    statement, Tuan Tran, Hewlett-Packard’s, vice president of marketing of
    imaging and printing supplies, said more than 112 million HP LaserJet
    and HP inkjet print cartridges have been returned and recycled
    worldwide since the program began.”No HP print cartridges returned
    through the Planet Partners program are sent to landfill,” Tran said.
    “Plastics and metals from recycled HP print cartridges have been used
    to make a range of everyday new products.”What’s different about the
    new generation of cartridge recycling, refilling and remanufacturing
    businesses is that their products are 100 percent guaranteed to satisfy
    consumers, they stay local, and they’re used again and again until they
    no longer serve their purpose.What is profoundly new about the industry
    is the unlikely return of customer service to a business that has
    become as faceless as buying music online.”PrintOne provides a face to
    the customer and a real place to go to discuss your printing needs,”
    Ottenberg said. “We provide knowledgeable staff members who can match
    your needs to what the printing market has to offer.”PrintOne’s model
    involves setting up a centralized “banner store” that serves as a hub
    for satellite stores within a given region. Fort Collins is the
    prototype for PrintOne’s concept.One of PrintOne’s Fort Collins stores
    will not only serve as the centralized remanufacturing site for
    Northern Colorado; it will someday provide store management, supply
    chain assistance and logistics for stores in Windsor and Loveland. The
    company plans a complete build-out of the Northern Colorado market by
    the end of 2007.”PrintOne has many franchise prospects,” Ottenberg
    said. “We will stay in Colorado initially, but we have national and
    global ambitions.”The concept for PrintOne came about a couple of years
    ago in discussions among a group of local businessmen. Together, they
    saw an unfilled niche in remanufactured printer consumables.”Several
    things struck us,” Ottenberg said. “First, there was no established
    market leader. Second, nobody was focused on the environmental side of
    the business. And third, this was a big market, measured in billions.
    We looked at industry models and saw an opportunity.”Ottenberg
    estimates the market for printer consumables, including laser and
    inkjet cartridges, at $45 billion annually, whereas the remanufactured
    segment is about $6 billion.PrintOne’s remanufacture process, which
    they consider proprietary, takes three days and involves inspection,
    cleaning, refilling, testing and packaging of cartridges. But that
    doesn’t mean customers must wait three days to get their cartridges
    back.”Typically, if you bring a cartridge to PrintOne, you’ll receive
    credit for the cartridge and then pull a remanufactured cartridge off
    the shelf for about 30 percent less than a new cartridge,” Ottenberg
    said.Within a a few days, your original cartridge might end up back on
    the shelf, fully remanufactured and ready for another customer.Not only
    does this divert solid waste from the landfill – it cuts down on fuel
    use associated with shipping cartridges across the country for
    recycling or remanufacture.Steve and Patti Page opened their Fort
    Collins Cartridge World franchise in April. Cartridge World is the
    world’s largest provider of cartridge refilling services, with more
    than 1,100 stores in 27 countries.The Pages believe that as printers
    become more affordable and ink and toner costs increase, the refillable
    cartridge business is likely to grow.Cartridge World’s process involves
    examining the cartridge for suitability, damage or electronic problems;
    removing old ink and refilling with compatible ink; and testing the
    cartridge to OEM standards or better.”We take care of it here and now,”
    Page said. “We refill and remanufacture everything in house. There’s no
    delay between when people want something and when they get it. People
    run out of ink at the worst times. They call us, and when they get
    here, we’ll likely have a cartridge waiting for them.”HP’s Tran is
    confident that new competitors in the printer cartridge industry don’t
    pose a threat to his company’s market dominance.”We’ve seen
    after-market competitors come and go all while we maintained a healthy
    business and market share,” Tran said. “We’ve found that customers who
    opt for less-reliable alternatives may find themselves with cartridges
    that don’t work after they get them home or with paper jams due to
    clogged nozzles – problems that are often associated with refilled
    cartridges and generic inks.”Trans said HP believes it is up to
    customers to decide which solution is best for them, but there will
    always be some segment of the population that is willing to accept
    trade-offs in quality and reliability to save a little money.To Mary
    Golden, a faithful PrintOne customer, the quality of remanufactured
    cartridges is fine and the savings are too significant to ignore.
    Golden operates the Hope Lives Breast Cancer Support Center in Fort
    Collins. The nonprofit organization does most of its printing in-house
    and goes through four to eight cartridges each month.”We’re a very
    small nonprofit,” Golden said. “The savings is just huge for us -
    easily $100 per month.”Page echoes her sentiment.”Quality printing and
    saving money never go out of style,” Page said. “There really is no
    risk to using us. We guarantee our products meet OEM standards. If
    there is a problem, we’ll give you your money back or replace the
    cartridge. Whatever it takes to make it right.”The U.S. Environmental
    Protection Agency says it would take about 450 years for a laser
    cartridge to break down in a landfill. Laser printer cartridges account
    for more than 90 percent of the throwaway cartridges deposited in
    landfills.