How and Why China Dumps Toxic Toner Products in the U.S. and Around the Globe.

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Date: Saturday August 27, 2022 09:51:29 am
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  • jim

    The Truth About “Forge-and-Forget” Chinese New Built Compatible Toner!
    By Volker Kappius, CEO Delacamp.

    Unfortunately, harmful substances can still be found in toners used in Chinese NBCs and for cheap refills. You do not even need testing laboratories like the LGA to check the toners for forbidden or unwanted contaminant substances. Sometimes a look at the Safety Data Sheet (SDS/MSDS) is enough. Take for example the amount of TiO2 (titanium dioxide) which is used in many toners. In solid mixtures like Toner, the bulk toner packaging and consequently the cartridge box of the toner must be labelled with the warning phrase ‘Warning! Hazardous respirable dust may be formed when used. Do not breathe dust’ (EUH212) if the toner contains ≥ 1 % by mass of TiO2, regardless of their form, or particle size because TiO2 has been classified as a Category 2 (inhalation) Carcinogen. I would be surprised if something that might cause cancer in the EU will not cause cancer in China, Russia or the rest of the world. The amount of TiO2 by mass should be found in the toner’s SDS. Please make sure to ask for the SDS for the toner of all the NBCs you are buying. If the SDS states 1% or more percentage by mass of TiO2, then you better make sure to put a warning phrase on your cartridge. The waring phrases or pictograms that apply and which – if present – need to put on your cartridges must be stated in the corresponding SDS.

    It is important that Chinese NBC toner and cartridge manufacturer finally embark on a proactive approach like Delacamp and Mitsubishi do when it comes to compliance with regulations and laws. It is imperative that the toner used fulfils all relevant country regulations right from the beginning and not just those regulations for which a breach was detected and later cured after it became public.

    The same applies of course to the plastics used in Newly Built Cartridges as we have seen with the DecaBDE scandal back in 2019. Most NBC supplier only cured this ROHS breach after it was detected. Actually, with the plastic used in NBCs it is even more complicated because you do not get a SDS with it. For plastic products the passing of information on the plastics used down the supply chain is usually done by markings directly moulded on the plastic part as you can see on many plastic products like your monitor, TV, plastic bottles, plastic bags, etc.. Unfortunately, this is not the case on most NBCs.

    Have a close look at a typical Chinese NBC: On most of them you hardly find any markings or pictograms and they do not name the plastics/plastic grades used in moulding them. One possible explanation why the plastic used is not named is, that because a lot of recycled plastic is used in making the parts the manufacturer simply has no idea of what plastics and additives are mixed in his NBCs as the DecaBDE scandal revealed. Another possible explanation could be that he knows what is inside but believes that it is better for him if his customers and the end user do not know what it is in for obvious reasons.  Actually, all cartridges claiming to have Blue Angel are obliged to mark all plastics used with a weight of above 25 grams according to ISO 11469:2017-01.

    A plastic product without proper identification of the plastics used, cannot be raw material recycled as the plastic is unknown. It can only end up in landfill or incineration. Please check the markings on the plastic used on your NBCs – if it has none, then it was purposely produced to be waste that ends up at its End of Life (EOL) in landfill or in incineration. This is a obvious fire-and-forget approach and not very sustainable and far from any kind of circular economy. But this approach helps China to get rid of a lot of reprocessed plastic waste as it must end up in landfill or incineration in the country in which the plastic part was sold to as new laws in China make sure that plastic waste cannot enter/re-enter China any longer. Many laws which were passed around the world lately make it impossible to ship unsorted plastic (note: unmarked plastic parts can only be unsorted!) waste from one country to another. So in not marking the plastic used one can be sure that the plastic when it becomes waste is being disposed of in the country it was sold to.

    Of course, OEM cartridges (e.g., PS-PPE-FR (49) on a HP™ 87x) and hence Reman cartridges have proper identification of the plastic used. They can be sorted in the waste stream at their EOL and properly prepared for re-use (remanufactured, refilled) again or raw material recycled. Reman cartridges are a true sustainable product supporting the circular economy.

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