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 user 2009-05-06 at 12:26:30 pm Views: 27
  • #22079
    Soy Alternative Printer Cartridges
    Soybean oil based toner may offer a cheaper, greener alternative to petroleum-based printer toner.
    potential benefits of soy toners are clear.  Soy based toners can cost
    less than the standard alternative, recycling paper printed with soy
    toner is easier, and soybeans are a renewable resource with a price
    more stable than oil.In recent years, many newspapers, magazines, and
    book publishers have shifted to soy-based ink.Early tests have shown
    little to no difference between standard toners and soy
    cartridges.According to Rick Greenlaw, PRC Technologies’ vice president
    of marketing, his company’s goal in creating SoyPrint soy toners was to
    make sure their soy product was cheaper than traditional toners.”Our
    interest is in the person willing to go green as long as it doesn’t
    cost them more. Period,” he said.

    LaserMonksGreen, a Web site
    operated by Cistercian monks of Our Lady of Spring Bank in Sparta,
    Wisconsin, says they make enough money selling SoyPrint toner to run
    their abbey and donate other profits to world hunger charities, and
    tree planting in Brazil.The group sells cartridges that fit into HP
    printers at a price 20 percent lower than new HP cartridges. 
    Remanufactured HP cartridges can still be less expensive than SoyPrint
    cartridges.Office Depot sells the Q5942X cartridge for $249, while
    SoyPrint sells an alternative for $181.  A remanufactured Q5942X with
    petroleum-based toner can cost $120.

    Currently the soy toners
    are only available for laser printers.  A soy equivalent for ink-jet
    printers has not yet been developed.Larger companies producing
    petroleum-based toners have not yet began to develop alternative
    cartridges.  The majority of these companies make much of their profit
    from ink and toner.According to a statement released by
    Hewlett-Packard, bio-based materials “have not met HP’s
    high-performance standards and may not be appropriate for many printing
    applications.”Lexmark International, another printer maker, said they
    are investigating soy and corn based resins.

    PRC Technologies
    remains one of the primary suppliers for soy-based cartridges.  The
    company, which only provides cartridges for HP black-and-white
    laser-jet printers, plans to expand to other printer brands this
    summer, and is currently developing color cartridges.Cathy Martin, a
    senior consultant with InfoTrends, questions whether buyers will trust
    soy-based toners in their expensive computer hardware.According to
    Wayne Boyd, a 68-year-old San Antonio resident, the lower price of
    soy-based toners got him interested.  Environmental concerns only
    played a small role in his decision to try SoyPrint, he added.”Right
    now money’s more important than the environment,” Boyd said.”You can’t
    eat clean air.”
    Soy, the other black ink
    Soy toner could catch on in office use
    on the march to go green have another way to cut petroleum use and
    enhance recycling: use soybean-oil toner for printing. In a trend that
    is slowly gaining momentum, some publishers have switched to soy-based
    printing, and office printing could follow.Soy cartridges cost less
    than new petroleum-based cartridges, although they still cost more than
    refilled regular cartridges. Soy also makes paper used for printing
    easier to recycle, because the toner is easier to break down. And it’s
    nutritious.On the down side, soy toner, a dry powder, only works in
    laser printers, so you’re out of luck if you’re using an inkjet. And at
    the moment, soy toner only comes in black.Companies such as PRC
    Technologies are producing soy toner, and a major distributor is, run by Cistercian monks in Sparta, Wis. The monks, who
    also sell other merchandise, use the money to support their abbey and
    donate funds to charity.Analysts say it takes about two liters of
    petroleum to make a pound of toner and that U.S. public and private
    organizations use about 100 million cartridges a year. Although soy
    toner wouldn’t be good for all printing, there’s still a lot of room to
    replace petroleum products with an environmentally friendly, renewable
    resource. And when the inevitable mistake happens, it will be easier to
    eat your words.