29 Mar 2012

We all know that computers, printers, cars and cellphones do not need to be replaced nearly as often as the media would have us believe. The reality that we now have a word such as e-waste in our lexicon that didn’t exist some 15 or so years ago speaks volumes on how technology has become a part of our everyday lives. 

The last time I purchased a printer I did not have to pay the e-waste fee, which I gladly did last week.  I would have happily held on to my last HP printer; it still worked and didn’t take up much desk space. Unfortunately, when I upgraded from from my old Dell desktop to my new MacBook Pro the software for the printer was so old it was incompatible with the new laptop.  I don’t even know how old that printer is (was), though I know I used it with the desktop I had before the Dell.  So it is certainly more than 7 years and likely closer to 10.  I don’t feel guilty in the least about replacing it.

E- waste is bad enough but the amount of everyday packaging we send to the dump always leaves me feeling annoyed and disappointed.  So I was most pleasantly surprised by was the minimum amount of packaging that came with the new printer It was wrapped in a re-usable shopping bag and the inks in a smaller zippered pouch, also re-usable. There was a second plastic faceplate (in French) and the plug pieces on the ink cartridges but otherwise there was no other plastic garbage.  I was still stuck with the good old Styrofoam crap that kept the printer safe, and a couple of small plastic bags but overall there really wasn’t much excess garbage. I was impressed. So hats off to HP for reducing its packaging waste and letting me send less to the dump.

Now if only they could find faceplates and ink cartridge plugs that are recyclable and an alternative to Styrofoam wouldn’t that be brilliant? Zero waste printer box packaging.  If the industry has come this far, I know its possible. Well done HP, I’ll be watching to see what’s next and thank you. 

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