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 user 2011-01-26 at 8:00:18 am Views: 57
  • #24299


    That printer hooked up to your computer at home or in the office probably gets through quite a few ink cartridges in the course of a year. In the past we had little option but to toss these capsules of non-biodegradable plastic into the bin. From there they are either transported to a landfill where they will remain intact for heaven knows how many aeons or, worse, are incinerated, causing air pollution and contributing further to global warming.But we may soon be able to avoid adding to this world’s woes. A leading manufacturer of printers seems set to follow the example of its Japanese parent company and start a recycling programme in Thailand some time this year. And it’ll be all the better for us if that firm’s two main rivals in the Kingdom were motivated to follow suit.

    In Japan, still the acknowledged leader of the global electronics industry, printer manufacturers Epson, Brother, Canon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard (Japan) and Lexmark joined hands in April, 2008 to launch the Ink Cartridge Homecoming Project. Agreed after a year and a half of negotiations among the firms, this is a collaborative effort which oversees the collection and recycling of ink cartridges from home-based printers.To make it as convenient as possible for consumers, spent cartridges can be deposited in more than 4,500 collection boxes at post offices, local government offices, schools and other public facilities across Japan.

    According to Akihiko Sakai, a member of the board of directors of Seiko Epson Corporation, the spent cartridges are sent to a sorting facility at Epson Mizube, an affiliate of Seiko Epson, where they are separated according to the brand before being returned to the respective manufacturer for recycling.And there’s an incentive for doing so. Participating customers earn points which they can then either use on Epson’s online shopping site or donate to the Nature Conservation Society of Japan or the Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement International.In April last year Epson started donating 3 yen (1 baht) for every one of its cartridges recycled to the United Nations Environment Programme. The money will be used to promote biodiversity and sell the idea of “the three Rs” (reduce, reuse, recycle).

    Some 17,000 schools throughout Japan are now participating in the programme, using the points they earn to purchase essential equipment such as sports gear. According to Epson, between 500,000 and 700,000 used cartridges are sent in by schools each month.

    Each year, the company collects around 11.5 million used inkjet cartridges and send them to its recycling affiliate. Located in Nagano prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, this plant has a stated policy of favouring the employment of physically challenged people. There, spent Epson cartridges are given a new life by being transformed into items such as pens, bottles, wheel chocks and packaging containers.

    Sakai said Epson plans to expand its “homecoming project” to major cities in the Asia-Pacific region including Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, Taipei, Seoul and Sydney.Epson (Thailand), one of the three top printer manufacturers in the Kingdom, apparently has plans to launch a cartridge-recycling project here later this year, but the firm won’t be setting up a sorting facility itself. This task will be delegated to an outside contractor. It is understood that we are still a long way from the day when companies operating here will be in a position to build their own recycling facility.

    We need to radically change our attitudes to rubbish disposal if we are ever to become a society that efficiently reuses much of what we now regard as worthless. Achieving this goal will require members of the general public to cooperate much more closely with the business and government sectors. The recycling of ink cartridges will hopefully be the first step on the road to reducing CO2 emissions and the size of our nation’s environmental footprint.