ETIRA calls for faster progress on draft regulation for the imaging equipment sector

July 4, 2022

The European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) is developing an updated position regarding the forthcoming draft EU regulatory framework for the imaging equipment sector.

The organisation, which represents the interests of the inkjet and toner cartridge remanufacturers and related service providers in the EU, is working on a formal position paper which will be submitted to the EU commission and other bodies who are tasked with writing the impact assessment and draft regulation. ETIRA will also take part in the industry stakeholders consultation meetings which the EU will organise in the coming months.

Javier Martinez, President of the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA), said: “Earlier this year the Commission rejected the Voluntary Agreement for imaging in favour of its Green Deal which many of our members believe is good news for inkjet and toner cartridge remanufacturers.

“This move takes us away from a ‘directive’ and towards ‘regulation’ which is a major step because it is no longer proposing just guidance but rules that will be directly applicable and can be enforced in all  EU Member States, and apply equally to all market participants.

This  is  in line  with  EU  Position  replacing  directives  (Eco-Design,  WEEE  Etc. )  by  a  more stringent  Regulation

“Our board of directors are now in the process of contributing to the next phase by providing the EU commission, and other interested parties, with a very clear position on what we and our members want to see happen next. This is still being developed but we are now able to give a flavour of the underlying principles that we hope to come from the new regulation.

“ETIRA has always insisted that all environmental policies affecting printing should respect the Eco-design directives, the EU Treaty, and defend SME and consumer rights. In addition, it should respect the EU’s waste hierarchy concept, which sets waste reduction, repair, and reuse above mere recycling of the materials. Moreover, it is important to note that the transition from recycling to remanufacturing can exponentially increase the number of EU jobs..

“Like NGO’s, consumer associations, Member States, and other stakeholders, we want to make printing sustainable. Products should be designed with their environmental footprint in mind during production, operational life, and at end-of-life including reusing a cartridge as many cycles as possible, followed by the recycling of its composing materials. It is vital to create and allow a functional secondary market, which does not exist at the customer level. 

“Since 2002, the EU’s WEEE legislation seeks to reduce the fast growing waste streams generated by IT, electrical and electronic products, by designing products in an environment-friendly way. Therefore, in the case of printing and cartridges, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have had 20 years to reduce the waste volume generated by printers and cartridges, but in practice they have done very little. The anti-reuse design of today’s cartridges is not environment-friendly and unsafe. Reusing cartridges can change that.

“These views are not only ETIRA’s views, in fact the EU itself has outlined similar objectives in many recent EU reports and policy initiatives on the environmental impact of printing.”

On cartridges, ETIRA maintains that EU policy should ensure, as a minimum, that the following elements are met, to be able to reduce waste and move towards a new and more sustainable business model: 

  • A compulsory minimum percentage, increasing every year, of all produced cartridges (OEM and non-OEM newbuilts) to be reused as a cartridge. Clear and ambitious re-use targets for all cartridges must be set: Without fixed targets, reuse of cartridges will not grow.
  • Prohibition of all anti-reuse tools and tactics such as firmware updates, chips, chip resetting, embedded software, patents on remanufacturing, closed loop sales systems, that prohibit  third party remanufacturers full access to full printer / cartridge functionality
  • Any new rules for printers must provide professional providers of reused cartridges with access to printer software and firmware, so that cartridges can be easily reused.
  • An end to imports of polluting and unhealthy non-OEM new built cartridges at the EU border, not just retroactive inspections/checks when they are all already in the EU market.
  • The EU has introduced ecodesign rules for several electronic products, such as vacuum cleaners and dishwashers, which include   provisions on sharing product and software and firmware data with 3rd party repairers. The same is needed for   3rd party cartridge remanufacturers

Javier added: “In Europe, up to 70 per cent of empty toner and inkjet cartridges are incinerated or dumped in landfill every year after 1st use. But between 80 and 90 percent of these cartridges could have been reused as a cartridge several times. Remanufacturing cartridges reduce their carbon footprint by up to 45-60  per cent. Every cartridge that is remanufactured is one fewer going directly to landfill. Remanufactured cartridges are also often up to 30 per cent cheaper than OEM equivalents, representing a cost-effective and environmentally-friendlier option.

“This issue needs tackling as a matter of urgency and we want to see change introduced as quickly as possible. We continue to lobby for the new draft regulation to come in as soon as possible and to incorporate our principles which we think would be a sensible way forward for our industry.”

Last year, ETIRA launched a new certification label to help customers distinguish between printing cartridges which are better for the environment from others.

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Global chip manufacturer company joins ETIRA

June 22, 2022

A Korean company focused on manufacturing chips and reset machines has joined the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association.

TinTec, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, specialises in chips and reset development and is expanding into areas including CISS solution and MPS software.

Since being founded as TNCore in 2006, company has grown his reputation rapidly, being an industry leader, especially in re-progamabale chips and chip resetting. The company opened a European arm, TINTEC EU, in Spain in 2017 under the umbrella of TN Group

Julie Jang, General Manager, at TinTec, said: “Ever since the company was founded, our emphasis has always been on recycling. In fact, we created the first resettable, reprogrammed chips.

“Most of our main customers are ETIRA members and we are well aware of the important work the association does. In our industry, each year more than one billion cartridges are sold, with approximately half ending up in landfill. Many Life Cycle analyses have show that by using remanufactured cartridges, we can reduce CO2 emissions by half compared to new cartridges.

“As a leading company in recycling, as part of a worldwide community and as human beings, it is our responsibility to unite with ETIRA and fellow members to promote sustainable economic and environmental development.”

Julie said it was important to educate customers on the differences between newly-built Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges and more environmentally-friendly recycled cartridges.

She said: “We need to change the mindset of the consumers, to look beyond the prices and base their decisions equally on environmental impact and sustainability.

“Some consumers have the mistaken idea that new-built cartridges are ‘better’ than remanufactured products. But the eco-friendly process we use not only ensures quality, but also sustainability. We hope that remanufactured products will not be undervalued, but rather give us a competitive edge.

“Our CEO came from a family business in the recycling industry, including recycling cartridges, and has integrated technology and recycling into TinTec. While OEMs have been making increasing efforts to block recycling and make reprogramming of chips more difficult, our commitment and faith in recycling continues with a strong sense of duty.

“We are inspired to take this chance to push for a bigger shift towards remanufacturing cartridges. Collectively with ETIRA and our fellow members, let’s move towards increasing reuse of waste cartridges and towards a greener and sustainable future.”

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “We are very pleased to welcome TinTec to the ETIRA family. The group have a long-term commitment to remanufacturing since their foundation in Korea and that has continued with their expansion into Europe.

“As a member of our network of environmentally-conscious remanufacturers, TinTec joins a group committed to raising the profile of remanufactured products that offer a superior environmental performance.”

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Another tender challenge win for Bioservice

June 8, 2022

ETIRA member Bioservice has successfully challenged another printer consumables tender that unfairly favoured Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

The Spanish company challenged the specifications governing the contracting procedure for the supply of toner for a tender for printer consumables.

The Mayor of Eibar, a city in the Basque region of Spain, upheld the appeal.

Bioservice S. COOP (Bioservice) launched its challenge after the tender called for “original toner”. The company successfully argued that was a breach of public administration procedures that require that the technical specifications will not refer to particular manufacture or origin, or to a specific procedure that characterises the products or services offered by a specific employer.

Technical specifications should also not refer to trademarks, patents or types or to a certain origin or production, in order to favour or discard certain companies or certain products.

Where it is not possible to make a sufficiently precise and intelligible description of the object of the tender contract the description should be accompanied by the mention “or equivalent”.

The Eibar Mayor found in favour of Bioservice, agreeing the tender contract’s technical specifications for the supply of original toner, without the mention “or equivalent”, violates the provisions of article 126.6 of the Sector Contracts Law.

Costs were awarded to Bioservice and a new tender will be issued.

It is the latest successful challenge for Bioservice, which in December argued a €363,554 tender to supply toners to the University Hospital of Burgos favoured OEMs. The appeal was upheld and the tender annulled.

Alejandro Pedro, CEO of Bioservice

Alejandro Pedro, CEO of Bioservice, said via LinkedIn: “Without the support of ETIRA (Vincent A. van Dijk and Javier Martinez Zavala) we could not have done it.

“I hope that we can achieve that as a rule, public tenders include two requirements:
– Registration as #weee (waste electrical and electronic equipment) producers
– Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and compliance of products.”

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “We are proud to work closely with our members like Bioservice to challenge tenders that illegally exclude remanufactured cartridges and unfairly favour OEMs.

“The remanufactured cartridges produced by ETIRA members can reduce cartridge carbon footprint by up to 50 per cent. At a time when all organisations should be seeking more environmentally-sustainable solutions, it is vital to ensure tenders are fair and do not penalise companies committed to remanufactured products.”

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

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ETIRA and industry meet in Prague

May 26, 2022

ETIRA held its 2022 annual meeting during ‘The Recycler Live Europe’ conference in Prague on 19th – 20th May.

Approximately 100 delegates joined the conference which is fast becoming the number one event to meet fellow industry members and hear the latest industry data. After two and a half years meeting only online it was great to have everyone under one roof and to finally able meet business partners in person.

On Thursday, The Recycler Live conference kicked off with a panel answering questions regarding the industry’s future. Thereafter, ETIRA’s Vincent van Dijk briefed the floor on EU initiatives to promote sustainable products and showed how they will affect the imaging equipment industry. Lexmark’s Maxime Furkel spoke about an EU funded project to promote circularity in printing.  Javier Martinez, President of ETIRA (pictured below right), informed attendees about the new EU market surveillance rules that will promote sustainability and help to seize non-compliant clones at importation at the first point of EU entry. 

Event host and moderator, David Connett, then walked the audience through the major recent development for our industry. Last March, the EU decided to reject the so-called Voluntary Agreement offered by printer manufacturers. Instead, they will regulate the imaging equipment industry. In the next years, the EU will draft a set of compulsory eco-design criteria that all market players will have to comply with, similar to EU rules already in place for other electronic/electrical products.

There was great networking at the Reception and Dinner, during which The Recycler presented the winners of the The Recycler’s Annual Awards.

On Friday, GM Technology’s Zoltan Matyas shared best practices of CRM, and Keypoint Intelligence’s Deborah Hawkins highlighted the future of office and home working environments following the covid-19 pandemic and other developments.

Jan de Kesel of ISN partners showed how connectivity solutions can help our industry, and David Connett and Vincent van Dijk wrapped up with a presentation of the new ETIRA sticker. Available to its cartridge remanufacturing members, already half a million stickers have hit the market, and 3 online videos and several multi-language flyers explaining the sticker’s properties and benefits are now being widely distributed to raise its worldwide profile.

At the ETIRA ‘Member’s Only’ general meeting on Thursday, members approved ETIRA’s 2021 finances and 2022 budget. They assessed ETIRA’s activities and welcomed the ETIRA Certification Label programme. The group expressed support for the enhanced communications and outreach roll-out in traditional and social media.

The Board of Directors will further elaborate ETIRA’s positioning in the upcoming EU industry regulation: as key stakeholder, we aim to present a single voice to ensure the regulation will meet our key demands: compulsory ambitious and growing cartridge reuse targets, no anti-reuse tools (like clever chips, firmware updates, etc) or other strategies that prevent a third party from reusing a cartridge, and decisive action against the tsunami of cheap and polluting single-use non-OEM cartridges imported from SE Asia.  Members also saluted the companies that recently joined ETIRA: Microteam, Demsky Recycling, and Tintec.       

ETIRA kindly thanks organisers Stefanie Unland and David Connett from The Recycler magazine, and the sponsors for making this event possible. The main sponsor was ETIRA member Biuromax, awards sponsor was Speed Infotech, the drinks reception sponsor was ETIRA member GM Technology and table sponsors were Denner, Static Control and Tech (eco).

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Embrace greener thinking now to ensure business sustainability

May 20, 2022

As governments strengthen their sustainability agendas and introduce greener policies, ETIRA is urging businesses to embrace sustainable practices now – or risk being left behind. Javier Martinez, president of the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association, explains:

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International conference to examine future of office printer industry

May 11, 2022

International experts from the office printer market will gather at a prestigious event next week to explore where the industry will be in one, two and five years.

The Recycler Live, run in partnership with the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA), will take place at the Holiday Inn, Prague Convention Centre, on May 19 and 20.

(more…)

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ETIRA offers brochures in 4 more languages to spread environmental message

May 6, 2022

ETIRA will be able to further spread its reuse message after translating several information brochures into different languages.

The brochures freely available for download, promote ETIRA’s certification label which helps customers and companies make the environmentally-responsible decision when it comes to buying printing cartridges. 

As well as English, they are now available in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

There are brochures for ink and toner remanufacturers, corporate buyers compiling tender frameworks and users of ink and toner cartridges.

The brochures point out that reusing an ink and toner cartridge can reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 60 per cent and that ETIRA labelled cartridges are safe to use, good for the environment and competitively priced.

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “Our members are taking serious steps to reduce their impact on the environment and the new certification label is a great way to promote reuse across imaging channels.

“Our members and their customers are based across Europe so we have translated our information brochures into four additional languages to help spread the message to all users and public tender buyers that remanufactured products offer a very good environmental performance.

“We hope the new materials will help our members continue to promote the environmental credentials of reuse and remanufacturing as we seek to make the industry as green as possible.”

Leading Croatian remanufacturer Microteam joins ETIRA

March 15, 2022

 

The leading producer of certified remanufactured laser and ink printers and multifunctional devices in Croatia has joined the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association.

Microteam, based in Velika Gorica, near Zagreb, becomes a member of ETIRA after remanufacturing of cartridges for printing and laser printers became a key focus for the company.

The family business, founded in 2001, began by producing informatic and office accessories. In 2004, the launch of remanufactured cartridges for ink and laser printers was a “turning point”.

Microteam started its Print-Team brand and is today Croatia’s only producer of certified remanufactured laser and ink printer cartridges and multifunctional devices.

Cartridges are recycled and remanufactured from Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) empty cartridges. While the process differs according to the manufacturer, all Print-Team cartridges are manufactured to rigorous quality control standards ISO 19752 and ISO 19798. The cartridges use laboratory-tested components, ensuring the same print quality and performance as original cartridges.

Focusing on the more environmentally-friendly remanufactured products has helped Microteam grow to employ 36 people, 25 of whom are based in its factory.

After reading about ETIRA’s work, the Microteam team discovered some of their business partners were already members.

Lucija Žordić from Microteam, said: “We wanted to become a member of ETIRA because we want to support the remanufacturing of ink cartridges and be part of the story. We want to be up to date with the latest industry developments, which ETIRA contributes to a lot with research and member meetings.

“As an ETIRA member, we want to educate people in Croatia and Europe to understand the difference between clones, toners imported from China and our toners. And why our toner costs half the price of the OEM and is better for the environment. We also want to raise awareness of our company and increase our business network in Europe.”

Lucija said recycling is an important part of the company ethos and Microteam supports other Croatian businesses focused on remanufacturing.

Lucija said: “The most important thing is to preserve the environment in order to enable future generations to live the same life as we do. We want to encourage people to reuse  toners and thereby reduce their impact on the environment and at the same time save money.

“We are proud to be part of this industry and to contribute to the preservation of the environment. We hope that this industry will be more recognisable in Croatia and Europe and that our domestic products will gain greater recognition.”

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Microteam to the ETIRA family. We have been impressed by their growth and commitment to selling high-quality remanufactured  cartridges and welcome them to our network of like-minded, environmentally-conscious remanufacturers.

“As an ETIRA member Microteam will have invaluable opportunities to make connections and learn about the latest innovations and best practice in toner and inkjet remanufacturing. One of our aims is to raise the profile of remanufactured products which offer a very good environmental performance, so customers can make informed decisions that help the environment.”

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ETIRA visits GM Technology

March 3, 2022

In late February, ETIRA Secretary General Vincent van Dijk visited the premises of ETIRA member firm GM Technology near Seville, Spain. He met with owner José Ángel Muñoz, and with business development manager Zoltan Matyas, who toured the facilities with him.

GM Technology are the no 1 in printer remanufacturing in Europe, and have a major toner cartridge remanufacturing activity. Their fast growing business is state of the art, and GMT are proud users of ETIRA’s recently launched product sticker programme, certifying that their toners are remanufactured OEM cartridges produced to the highest industry standard and good fort he environment.

GM and Vincent also discussed several issues on the ETIRA radar screen, such as latest market developments, Spanish public tenders refusing remans, the EU VA, higher member engagement, and the possibility of adding hardware reuse to the ETIRA universe.

“It was great to see GM Technology’s product reuse activity first-hand’, said Vincent van Dijk. They are an example for our industry, and we look forward to further strengthening  our cooperation”.

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