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 user 2010-01-25 at 10:52:12 am Views: 27
  • #23179


    A Kentucky recycler of Lexmark
    International’s inkjet cartridges has come up with a novel way to reduce
    waste: Convert the ink and the cartridges themselves into ink pens.
    the past 18 months, Close the Loop, which operates in Hebron, in
    Northern Kentucky, has worked with Lexmark to develop the writing tool
    with the goal of taking it to market by mid-2010.

    Close the Loop,
    which also operates in Australia, is hired by printer companies to
    recycle inkjet and toner cartridges and other materials. The company
    sorts the used cartridges and separates them into component parts like
    plastics, metals, foams and ink for recycling. But ink had posed a
    problem.”We had been storing the ink thinking there had to be ways we
    could make this ink usable,” said Jim Tocash, vice president and general
    manager of North America for Close the Loop.One day, the company’s
    leader asked whether it could be used in a pen. Printer cartridges are
    an amalgamation of colors, so the initial thought was no, but they
    tested it.

    It worked, so the company set out to determine how to
    use not just the ink but also the plastics and metals from the
    cartridges as the body of the pens.After months of work, the pen was
    made of 84 percent recycled content, said John Gagel, manager of
    sustainable practices, environmental, health and safety for Lexmark.
    “We’re working toward getting it to 100 percent,” he said.Close the Loop
    is looking for a retail partner for the pen. The design might change as
    the company is looking for a partner to modify it — “You can turn it
    into any shape you have a mold for,” Tocash said — so retailers will get
    a product they think can sell.The company has discussed prices for the
    pens but declined to disclose them.”It’s not going to be a little 5-cent
    pen,” Tocash said. “It would be more toward a roller ball-type pen
    price.”Gagel added: “I think we’ve got a good shot of being widely
    accepted from those looking for what you can purchase around
    sustainability.”And while the pens and their revenue are Close the
    Loop’s, “we get the story” and the proof of the company’s dedication to
    the environment, Lexmark’s Gagel said.

    Recently, Lexmark held a
    recycling forum for its partners with a goal of bringing them together
    with product development engineers to ensure that when a product reaches
    the end of its useful life, “it gives us the best opportunity to give
    them a new life,” Gagel said.”This is just an indicator of what you can
    do when you allow yourself to think outside the box and form these
    partnerships,” he said. “You get very creative.”

    Lexmark partners with Stamps.com
    printer maker Lexmark International has reached a deal with Stamps.com
    to allow owners of its newest touchscreen printers to print postage
    directly from the printer.
    The Web-connected printers — the Platinum,
    Prestige and Interact — interface with Stamps.com and allows users to
    print the shipping labels and pay for postage by just pressing that
    SmartSolution offering on the printer.It’s one of many such
    SmartSolutions offered on the printers, which allow users to customize
    their printing processes to a great degree using what are similar to
    macros on computers.
    For more information, visit