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 user 2009-12-14 at 10:37:18 am Views: 54
  • #23295


    THURNAU (GERMANY) — Hewlett-Packard Co. has been thinking
    green — about how both to lessen its impact on the environment and cut
    its production costs.To help achieve these dual goals, the US technology
    bellwether, popularly known as HP, has teamed up with a German company
    to recycle disposable ink cartridges from HP printers.Once used, the
    plastic cartridges would otherwise end up in rubbish landfills or
    incinerators, aggravating the problem of solid waste pollution. Together
    with its partner Produkte Durch Recycling, HP is trying to set an
    example for environmental responsibility, and asking its customers to
    join in the effort.

    Produkte Durch Recycling, which translates as
    Products Derived from Recycling, or PDR, is one of three recyclers that
    HP works with worldwide. It handles HP printer cartridges sent for
    recycling from Europe, the Middle East and Africa; HP has partnered with
    other companies to recycle cartridges in the Americas and Asia.PDR has
    already won several awards in Germany for its recycling expertise. On a
    recent visit to its facility in the south-central German city of
    Thurnau, this Khaleej Times reporter found that PDR seems to be meeting

    The firm’s operations take place in a suitably
    bucolic setting, in a building the size of a warehouse located amid
    apple orchards and farms a half-hour drive from Thurnau. In an orderly
    but often noisy process, green-shirted employees work alongside conveyor
    belts to sort newly arrived cartridges by model type, feed the
    cartridges into a crusher and then re-sort the pulverised
    remains.Workers use pallet jacks to shunt boxes of cartridges from the
    first sorting station to the crushing machine, which spits out a
    psychedelic stream of particles, powders and other residue. PDR staff
    members shout to be heard above the din, but the noise is bearable.

    separate unit the size and shape of a space capsule even bleeds unused
    ink from each cartridge.Employees package all the leftover plastics,
    metals and resins and bottle the unused printer ink. PDR then ships the
    materials elsewhere to be used in the manufacture of new cartridges.It’s
    all part of what HP calls its “Closed-Loop” Inkjet Plastics Recycling
    scheme. Every step in the process is designed to meet hugh standards of
    environment awareness and cost-efficiency. But the system depends on
    individual, green-minded customers who deliver their used cartridges to
    local HP dealers, which then feed the junk into the company’s
    international recycling loop.

    HP began recycling electronics back
    in 1987. It officially launched its HP Planet Partners recycling
    programme for printer cartridges in 1991. Since then, the Palo Alto,
    California-based company says it has recycled more than 300 million
    inkjet and LaserJet printer cartridges.

    HP Planet Partners tries
    to make it easy for customers in more than 50 countries to recycle
    printer cartridges and other IT equipment. In 2007, HP achieved its goal
    of recycling one billion pounds of equipment and cartridges, and the
    company aims to double that amount by 2010.

    HP hopes its sense of
    environmental responsibility rubs off on more off its customers.
    results are outstanding,” said Bruno Zago, HP’s environmental manager
    for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. “Since 1992, HP has
    reduced the number of parts in each LaserJet cartridge by 33 per cent,
    and the types of plastic resins used by half.”

    The Europe, Middle
    East and Africa region is HP’s smallest territory, accounting for $5
    billion in annual sales, but it’s growing fast. The Americas account for
    $9 billion in sales, while the Asia-Pacific region tops the list with
    $38 billion.HP delivers 110,000 printers, 75,000 personal systems and
    3,500 servers daily, so the challenge it faces in trying to reduce the
    environmental impact from all these products is huge. It seeks,
    therefore, to design its products, tools and services so that they use
    less energy and conserve scarce resources, and it encourages their reuse
    and recycling.HP has identified four areas — energy efficiency,
    resource conservation, reuse and recycling, and green alternatives —
    that it believes to be most important to its customers and where it can
    make the biggest positive impact.