ETIRA welcomes delay to UKCA requirements

October 7, 2021

A one-year delay to the mandatory requirement for businesses to adopt the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) mark has been welcomed by ETIRA.

The European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) raised its concerns around the challenges the new mark would bring for its members, in July this year.

However, the government has now postponed the requirement for manufacturers to have the mark in place by a further 12 months, meaning there is no obligation to use the UKCA marking until 1 January 2023.

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, says this move will buy businesses more time:

“We very much welcome the extension to January 2023, as it will allow our industry to seek out further guidance around the use of UKCA and ensuring products conform to regulations across different territories in Europe, Northern Ireland and the UK.

“Earlier this year we warned of the significant challenges the introduction of the new UKCA marking would bring for our members, with manufacturers, importers and retailers potentially being faced with having to use three different labels if they wish to continue selling their products in multiple countries.

“This delay buys more time to clarify the finer details and to allow businesses to prepare in full for the changes that lie ahead.

“For example, we are yet to hear if these changes will also apply to the movement and remanufacture of empty printer cartridges but, if it does, that will further hamper the industry’s efforts to encourage reuse, significantly limiting the market size unless remanufacturers are prepared to invest in securing all three certifications.”

The UKCA marking came into effect on 1 January 2021 as part of a new domestic goods regulation following the UK’s exit from the EU. The marking applies to most goods that previously required the CE label.

For the latest guidance on the UKCA marking, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/placing-manufactured-goods-on-the-market-in-great-britain

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New certification initiative introduced by ETIRA

September 15, 2021

The European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) has launched a new certification label to help customers distinguish between printing cartridges which are better for the environment than others.

The new certified mark will differentiate remanufactured Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges from new OEM and non-OEM newbuilds. 

The certification initiative aims to raise the profile of remanufactured products produced by ETIRA members and eliminate confusion about which cartridges offer a very good environmental performance and those which are widely compatible with poor environmental credentials.

The new label is currently limited to ETIRA members through a qualification process and license agreement, meaning the remanufacturer will be able to apply the certification mark not only to their own brand of cartridges, but any brand of cartridges they have produced for a third party that complies with the license requirements.  

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “ETIRA is very pleased to announce this new certification initiative which we hope will provide a clearer industry view on which cartridges and printing products offer better environmental performance.

“Our current ETIRA logo is a collective mark, not a certification mark, which means it currently signifies that a good or service originates from a member of a particular association.

“However, certification marks aim to certify that a good or a service complies with specific quality standards irrespective of their origin. These standards include permitted materials, manufacturing methods and service performances.

“For this reason we feel that this certification will make much needed headway in determining the environmental impacts of printing products in the future.”

ETIRA, formed in 2003, is a Belgian registered non-profit organisation that represents the interests of inkjet and toner cartridge remanufacturers and related service providers and is the recognised industry body for all topics affecting the industry.

The ETIRA Certification Mark labels will be available from 20 September 2021.

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Canon patent on remanufacturing revoked following opposition by ETIRA

July 30, 2021

A remanufacturing patent, granted to Canon in 2014, has been revoked after a lengthy opposition campaign by the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA).

The European Patent Office (EPO) revoked the Canon patent (EP 1 536 297 B1) after a formal Hearing took place with ETIRA at the end of June.

The patent was applied for by Canon in 2004 and granted in 2014. That year, ETIRA filed an official opposition procedure against it at the EPO.

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “The revocation of Canon’s patent marks the end of a long, tough campaigning job for our small association – a big win for us, too.

“As soon as the patent was granted in 2014 we filed an official opposition procedure against it at the EPO, as it sought to monopolise basic techniques that have been used by many remanufacturers for years.

“We were adamant to see our opposition through to the end, as we want to make it clear that third-party reuse is the future, and intellectual property rights may not be used to stand in its way.

“Patents on remanufacturing are unfortunately a common occurrence for our industry and at ETIRA, we do not support any patent if it hinders the legitimate activity of remanufacturing cartridges.

“Moreover, we feel strongly that many patents are damaging to the environment, if the patent holder does not remanufacture their cartridges themselves but instead uses the patent to stop others from doing something that is good for the environment.”

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ETIRA warns members of challenges ahead following introduction of UKCA marking

July 29, 2021

The European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) is warning its members of challenges ahead, following new guidance issued by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The guidance from BEIS follows the introduction of the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking in January 2021 and advises businesses that if they use the ‘CE’ marking to sell certain products in Great Britain, action must be taken to comply with the new labelling rules before 1 January 2022 – when the CE label will no longer be recognised in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland).

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “From 1 January 2022, manufacturers, importers and retailers that sell products across the UK, Northern Ireland and the EU, could be faced with significant challenges as they will require up to three different labels to conform with each territory’s regulations, the CE mark for European transactions, and then the UKCA for the UK and possibly a UKNI mark for Northern Ireland. 

“Whereas previously the CE mark enabled products to be sold across all areas, this means there will soon be different standards to comply with for each market, causing a logistical nightmare for those who move goods across Europe and the UK, as many within our sector do.”

The UKCA marking came into effect on 1 January 2021 as part of a new domestic goods regulation following the UK’s exit from the EU. The marking applies to most goods that previously required the CE label.

Javier added: “We are yet to hear if these changes will also apply to the movement and remanufacture of empty printer cartridges but, if it does, that will further hamper the industry’s efforts to encourage reuse, significantly limiting the market size unless remanufacturers are prepared to invest in securing all three certifications.

“We are urging our members to look further into this new guidance and how it affects them, so that they can best prepare for any changes and conformity testing that they may need to undertake, before the end of the year.”

Businesses are still able to use the CE marking until 1 January 2022 in most cases. Existing stock can continue to be sold in Great Britain with a CE marking until then, but must be placed on the market before 31 December 2021.

For further information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/placing-manufactured-goods-on-the-market-in-great-britain

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ETIRA welcomes VA’s move under DG Environment

July 20, 2021

Following the news that the EU’s Voluntary Agreement has moved under DG Environment, rather DG Energy, ETIRA president Javier Martinez, said:

“This is a very clear support for a sector which, in terms of reducing energy consumption during the product use phase, has reached its limits.

“DG Environment will have a much clearer vision of what circular ambition is, and we will see an increased push to ensure durability, repairability and reusability of products, and more customer freedom to move to more ‘truly circular proposals’ where ‘the closest the better’ has to be the priority.

“For example, it does not make any sense to send a printer to a far away, centralised location to be repaired or exchanged, when a technician can fix it locally.

“As for cartridges, it is clear that they have an extremely short use-life, and since they represent the bigger environmental impact of printing, this mandate has to be even stronger, and reuse targets have to be close to 100 percent.

“We could even anticipate ‘regressive waste taxes’ for good that are used longer and reach their end of life later or are reused. Those goods could be taxed differently compared to products that leave a big gap between their end-of-use (economical) and their end-of-life (technical) or products that are designed for single-use only.”

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ETIRA supports U.S. Congressman Joe Morelle’s Fair Repair Act

June 24, 2021

U.S. Congressman Joseph Morelle, Representing the 25th District of New York

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “ETIRA is very pleased to see the US Congressman introducing the Fair Repair Act.

“We represent inkjet and toner cartridge remanufacturers across the EU and have been lobbying the EU for a right to repair for many years now.  The recent EU Green Deal should deliver a compulsory Right to Repair, and the EU’s Sustainable Product policy should ensure that products are designed in such a way that they can be easily reused (eco-design).  Cartridges are textbook products for repair, but original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) use many ways to block reuse.

“The Fair Repair Act will mean that businesses and consumers will no longer be held hostage by the OEM and will have the right to repair their own products.

“This is a very important Bill that will help to reduce waste and lower prices for repair in the USA, and we fully support this and hope that the EU will take steps to improve regulations for remanufacturers across the EU.”

For more on this please visit https://morelle.house.gov/media/press-releases/congressman-joe-morelle-introduces-fair-repair-act

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ETIRA talks Green Deal with EU Commission

June 16, 2021

In late May, ETIRA President Javier Martinez spoke with representatives of the EU Commissioners about cartridge reuse. The short online meeting came as a reply to our 2020 request for a general discussion with the EU on the Green Deal.

ETIRA President, Javier Martinez

During the meeting, President Javier Martinez (pictured left) underscored the need to have cartridge reuse included in related EU policies such as the Green Deal and Circular Economy, and more specifically in the EU Sustainable Product policy and the EU ecodesign policy. We stressed that cartridge reuse is textbook circularity and merits full support from the EU Commission and the Member States to grow its market share. We asked for EU action against OEM tactics prohibiting reuse and against imports of single-use non-OEM newbuilt cartridges. We also insisted that the EU’s 2020 Green Public Procurement criteria that support the use of remanufactured cartridges should become mandatory across the Member States. Regarding the VA, we reiterated our position click here.

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EU Voluntary Agreement: final draft is being evaluated by the EU and stakeholders

Early April, printer manufacturers’ group EuroVAprint sent the latest draft text to the EU Commission for evaluation. The text of the VA is not in the public domain yet but based on the penultimate version of the VA, Consultation Forum meetings and Minutes of the Subgroup on Targets published here: https://www.eurovaprint.eu/pages/voluntary-agreement/. It is believed to include a minimum percentage for cartridge reuse and details regarding firmware, signatories, and sub-signatories (see our info sent to Members during the last months). 

Once it becomes public, the Board of ETIRA will determine its position on the proposal. As you know, ETIRA’s position to date is that we prefer regulation but could support a VA provided it meets our 3 key demands: a substantial compulsory minimum percentage of all produced cartridges to be reused as a cartridge, prohibition of all anti-reuse tools and tactics like firmware updates, chips/chip resetting, embedded software etc., and a stop to imports of polluting and unhealthy non-OEM newbuilt cartridges at the EU border. 

Given the considerable importance for everyone in the cartridge remanufacturing industry, we also ask ETIRA members to study the papers and give us their views. See here for updates/details: https://www.eurovaprint.eu/pages/voluntary-agreement/

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Dutch authorities tested compatible toners for bromides: 4 brands exceed legal limits

In the last few months, the Dutch health and safety regulator ILT tested 35 private label toner cartridges supplied by seven different companies sold in The Netherlands. Test results showed that four toners had levels of the illegal flame retardant bromide exceeding the legal limit, and one toner even contained lead. These toners have now been removed from the market. ETIRA learned that ILT would not conduct additional tests because they have other IT items with higher RoHS/REACH violation rates.

Although ILT did not name the brands found to be infringing, ETIRA knows that the tested products were single-use toners from Asia. In 2019/2020, ETIRA and other market players conducted similar tests. They found that no less than 7 in 8 toners tested contained flame retardant DecaBDE levels that exceeded EU health and safety levels. Following those shocking findings, ETIRA called on regulators in European Union Member States to strengthen market surveillance and test 3-rd country toners for conformity with ROHS and REACH compliance to seize these dangerous toners posing a health risk to EU consumers.