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 user 2004-01-09 at 10:41:00 am Views: 57
  • #4521

    TONER !The Lifeblood Of The Industry

    NEW YORK – One of the more interesting side notes to the remanufacturing industry is what keeps it going in the first place: empty cartridges. Without them, the remanufacturers would have nothing to refurbish, fill with ink and resell. But how to go about collecting the tens of millions of empties that would otherwise get tossed in the trash every year?

    Businesses have popped up to serve just this purpose. Some are selling in lots as large as 10,000 empties. The more desirable ones–usually empty cartridges from the latest Hewlett-Packard –can go for as much as $30 each. That’s per cartridge. 

    The FundingFactory.com uses a point system to encourage schools to send in their empties. The site awards a varying range of points for cartridges–again, more for those for newer machines–which can be redeemed for computer equipment or playground gear. FundingFactory.com sorts, tests and grades the empties and sells them to remanufacturers. The company, which moves as many as 600,000 units per month, has seen sales triple in two years to $34 million, says general manager Sean Michaels.

    Often, businesses will display a receptacle for disposing of empty cartridges, under the auspices of recycling. Those are often sold to an empties broker who in turn sells them to remanufacturers. While it does promote recycling, there’s no mistaking that the empties are being collected to move them into the circulation of a multibillion-dollar business. Says Pradeep Jotwani, an HP senior vice president, “It is less an environmental issue. The remanufacturing industry is about competition and business and cost.”