ETIRA supports EU Greenwashing ban

September 22, 2023

ETIRA is pleased to announce its support for the recent agreement in principle reached by the European Parliament and Council to ban misleading advertisements and enhance consumer product information. These new rules were suggested by the EU Commission last year, and required approval from the EU Parliament and Member States. Once in force, they will represent a significant step towards protecting consumers from deceptive marketing practices and enabling them to make more informed choices when purchasing products.

What will be prohibited under the new rules? 

The new EU law will outlaw the following practices:

  • Generic environmental claims, such as “environmentally friendly,” “natural,” “biodegradable,” “climate neutral,” or “eco,” without credible evidence of exceptional environmental performance related to the claim.
  • Commercial communications promoting goods with features that intentionally limit their durability, unless information about the feature and its effects on durability is provided.
  • Claims based on emissions offsetting schemes suggest that a product has a neutral, reduced, or positive environmental impact.
  • Sustainability labels that are not based on approved certification schemes or established by public authorities.
  • Durability claims related to usage time or intensity under normal conditions without adequate proof.
  • Encouraging consumers to replace consumables (e.g., printer ink cartridges) prematurely.
  • Presenting software updates as necessary when they only enhance functionality features.
  • Misleadingly labelling goods as repairable when they are not.
  • Introduction of a new harmonized label for products with extended guarantees

ETIRA is especially pleased with the provision to make guarantee information more visible to consumers. Many individuals are unaware that all consumer products come with at least a two-year guarantee in the EU. Additionally, the Commission has been tasked with designing a new label for producers who voluntarily extend the guarantee period without charging consumers.

Responding to this agreement, ETIRA underscores the EU’s commitment to addressing pressing concerns surrounding the premature replacement of ink and toner cartridges, as well as the broader issue of firmware updates that can hinder cartridge use and render printers inoperative for no reason. 

ETIRA President Javier Martinez hailed the achievement, stating that better guarantee visibility and a new label empower consumers to choose durable products. He praised the strong stance against early obsolescence and the clarity these rules bring to environmental claims, banning emissions offsetting. ETIRA fully embraces these changes, especially in addressing premature cartridge replacement and firmware disruptions.

The provisional agreement awaits final approval by Parliament and the Council, with an expected full EP vote in November. Thereafter, Member states will have 24 months to adopt the new rules. ETIRA eagerly anticipates these changes promoting transparency, sustainability, and consumer rights in Europe.


Ninestar ban increases pressure on remanufacturers and puts European companies’ corporate sustainability commitments in the spotlight

September 12, 2023

  • The recent Ninestar forced labour scandal that has seen the printer maker and its subsidiaries banned from importing into the US is putting pressure on the EU’s remanufacturing sector;
  • It also puts European-based companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments to the test, as ETIRA stresses continuing to trade with Ninestar “very obviously violates” ethical and sustainability pledges.

The ink and toner cartridge remanufacturing and reuse sector in Europe is under increased pressure to compete with cheaper alternatives from Asia that are flooding the market following the recent US-ban on printer maker Ninestar and its products.

In June, the country banned all imports from Chinese company Ninestar and its subsidiaries, including Pantum Electronics, Apex Microelectronics and G&G Digital Technology, under the country’s Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act.

ETIRA issued a call on the back of the ban for European companies and public bodies to stop purchasing from the involved organisations. Now, its members are reporting the impact of the Ninestar scandal on their ability to operate. 

Vincent van Dijk of ETIRA, said: “We’re already hearing reports that the US-ban on Ninestar is having an impact on trading conditions for our members here in Europe and putting them under significant pressure, as Asia-based manufacturers look to secure existing routes to market and in turn, offer far cheaper, single-use cartridges that are very hard for remanufacturers to compete with. 

“We are already up against the greenwashing tactics of the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and the big players in the market. This additional development could put even more pressure on remanufacturers. 

“However – it also puts pressure on European-based companies’ CSR policies and sustainability commitments. 

“Trading with a company that has been found to be engaging in forced labour very obviously violates any such policy or commitment, and is something we and our members very strongly condone.”

According to ETIRA, as many as 70 percent of ink and toner cartridges are thrown away in Europe after first use. Remanufacturing cartridges for reuse can reduce their carbon footprint by up to 60 percent. 

For further information about ETIRA, visit


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ETIRA and DKWU File Complaint Against Lexmark Germany Over Anti-Competitive Practices

June 27, 2023

Brussels, June 27th, 2023 – The European Toner & Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) and Deutsche Kartuschen Wiederaufbereitungs-Unternehmen (DKWU) have jointly lodged a complaint against Lexmark Germany with the RAL gGmbH. The complaint addresses Lexmark’s ongoing practice of impeding the use of remanufactured cartridges through firmware updates and the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Programme (LCCP).

In their formal complaint, ETIRA and DKWU highlighted that Lexmark deployed the FW CSNZJ.081.225. firmware update across its entire printer range in January 2023. This firmware effectively prevents the usage of remanufactured cartridges on Lexmark printers and multifunctional devices operating with the updated firmware. Notably, Criterion of the prestigious BLUE ANGEL eco-label expressly mandates that “the use of refurbished toner modules and refurbished ink modules and containers according to DIN33870-1 and 33870-2 is not prevented by constructive, software-based or other measures.” ETIRA and DKWU identified 119 printer and multifunctional device models from Lexmark that contradicted this criterion due to the blocking firmware and LCCP.

Volker Kappius, an ETIRA Board Member and DKWU spokesperson expressed his concern over Lexmark’s actions, stating, “Lexmark’s exploitation of BLUE ANGEL certification for printers and MFPs, while simultaneously obstructing the use of remanufactured cartridges through firmware updates and the LCCP, is a clear disregard for consumer choice and an example of greenwashing.” Kappius added, “However, it is not just Lexmark that is undermining the credibility of the BLUE ANGEL eco-label. RAL gGmbH, the entity responsible for issuing BLUE ANGEL certifications, has failed to take immediate action, even temporarily, by removing the questioned Lexmark products. How can consumers trust a certification failing to meet its requirements?”

ETIRA and DKWU’s complaint urges RAL gGmbH to conduct a thorough review of all Lexmark BLUE ANGEL registrations, specifically focusing on the presence of blocking firmware and the LCCP.

About ETIRA:

The European Toner & Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) is an influential trade association representing the interests of the toner and inkjet remanufacturing industry in Europe. ETIRA is committed to promoting a sustainable circular economy by encouraging the reuse and remanufacturing of printer cartridges.


For media inquiries, please contact: Vincent van Dijk, Secretary General, ETIRA. Email: Phone: +31 6 414 614 63


ETIRA adds multilingual translation to its website

November 10, 2021

ETIRA serves a wide and diverse audience where English may be a second or third language or someone speaks but doesn’t read English. The multilingual initiative provides a basic translation from the ETIRA English content to the language of choice of the website visitor utilising Google translation services.



ETIRA and member firm Armor podcast promoting cartridge reuse

July 3, 2020

In June, ETIRA joined hands with our member firm Armor during a 1 hr podcast Dutch language broadcasted live on Dutch radio station New Business Radio. Armor’s Frans Hondmann and ETIRA’s Vincent van Dijk highlighted the benefits for end-users of reusing cartridges. We raised awareness about the lower CO 2 emissions and use of natural resources. We also informed the listeners about the unfair barriers to reuse erected by printer manufacturers, and about the risks when buying cheap non-OEM newbuilds from Asia that pollute the environment and endanger your health.


Leaving the OEM logo on a remanufactured OEM cartridge:

Remanufacturers often put the question: is it allowed to leave the OEM logo on the remanufactured cartridge? 

ETIRA recently commissioned a legal opinion to answer this question and the answer is set out in our 20 page analysis which is available exclusively and free of charge, to ETIRA members. If you have not received your copy please contact the secretariat at


COVID-19: Slowdown affecting remanufacturing

Since the start of the pandemic, many remanufacturers across Europe have experienced falls in sales. For some the damage was very severe, for some it was relatively limited. Some even experienced an increase in parts of their business: thanks to the large number of employees now forced to work from home, sales of certain products (inkjets) saw double-digit growth. Part of that growth may well prove to be permanent. Setbacks were the firmware updates that some OEM’s continue to implement. 

Also at ETIRA, the pandemic caused a slowdown in activities, as you will have noticed the low frequency of this Newsletter. But that was not only due to the pandemic: as part of our new PR and media strategy, ETIRA is making more use of other channels than just this Newsletter for its outreach. 

Behind the scenes, the ETIRA Board of Directors remained very active. The main topic is the 2020 EU’s Action Plan on the Circular Economy. Here the multi-annual ETIRA lobby efforts again paid off 100%: the programme announces legislation to promote circularity for IT products, including printers and cartridges unless an ambitious Voluntary Agreement Imaging Equipment is agreed in the next few months. The Board also discusses leaving the OEM logos on remans, a new ETIRA logo’ distinguishing remanufactured cartridges from non-OEM newbuilds, PR work, etc. 


ETIRA cautions that recent new build Toner Emission Tests reveal a 100% failure rate

April 14, 2020

Imported non-OEM new build cartridges sourced in Europe were tested by the LGA and 100% failed, underlining again that such products are a threat to our health and the environment.

As part of its product safety remit, ETIRA recently purchased on Amazon and then commissioned the testing of three non-OEM new build toner cartridges by Germany’s expert LGA test centre. Additionally, five further tests by the LGA were commissioned by other industry players concerned about product safety.  The result was stunning: All eight new non-OEM newbuild cartridges failed the LGA emissions tests for multiple reasons. By contrast, a test of two toners widely used by European remanufacturers passed the LGA emissions test.

(Full details of the tests can be downloaded here).

The range of failures included excessive levels of cobalt, benzene and naphthalene. Four cartridges had levels ranging from 37 to 44 mg/kg of cobalt,  which according to the European Chemicals Agency harmonised classification and labelling (CLP00) approved by the European Union ECHA), may cause long lasting harmful effects to aquatic life, may cause an allergic skin reaction and may cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

Benzene was also detected at a level of 0.9 mg/kg, 157% above the LGA threshold of 0.35 mg/kg.  The ECHA classification states that Benzene may be fatal if swallowed and enters airways, may cause genetic defects, may cause cancer, causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure, is a highly flammable liquid and vapour causes serious eye irritation and causes skin irritation. 

Naphthalene was present in seven of the tested cartridges at a level of between 3.8 and 7.5 mg/kg, between 280% and 650% above the LGA test threshold of 1.0 mg/kg. According to the ECHA classification, this substance is very toxic to aquatic life, with long lasting effects, is harmful if swallowed and is suspected of causing cancer.

One test cartridge contained 86 mg/kg of Bis(2-methoxyethyl) ether, which is more than 8500% above the LGA test threshold of 1.0 mg/kg. According to the ECHA classification, this substance may damage fertility and may damage the unborn child and is a flammable liquid and vapour.

In the past, toner powders extensively used in the European remanufacturing sector have been tested by the LGA and they easily passed this stringent emissions test. 

As the European Union moves towards a circular economy, one of the key goals will be addressing the presence of hazardous chemicals in products.  Javier Martinez, President of ETIRA said “ These tests show that very often it is dangerous to buy newbuild non-OEM cartridges: by offering products containing dirty toners, traders are playing with the health of their customers.  The current coronavirus pandemic will heighten the awareness and need for the products we use to be safe and reliable, and at the same time the standards required for CE and other certifications applied to goods entering the EU must be rigorously checked.”

  1. TVOC = total volatile organic compounds in forming the corresponding totals. all individually quantified components are included with a mass-based emission rate of ≥ 0.3 mg/kg. Insofar as possible concentrations of all individual compounds are quantified against authentic standard. Unidentified substances are quantified on basis of substance groups against substance-like compounds from this group.
  2. CMR = carcinogenic (C). mutagenic (M). toxic to reproduction (R) classified according to the EU classification with reference to Annex VI of Regulation (EC) No.1272/2008 (GHS) of Categories 1A and 1B and according to the national classification in compliance with TRGS 905 or the MAK and BAT Value Lists of the DFG (German Research Foundation). (Categories 1 and 2 and Pregnancy Group A and B).
  3. According to the EU classification with reference to Annex VI of Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 (GHS)
  4. According to the MAK and BAT Value Lists of the DFG (German Research Foundation). (Categories 1 and 2 and Pregnancy Group A and B).


ETIRA responds to Actionable Intelligence White Paper

November 20, 2019

ETIRA responds to the recently published white paper that charts how a premium new build Single Use Cartridge is poised to change the printer supplies market.

Recently US research firm Actionable Intelligence published a free white paper “Premium Compatibles Poised to Fundamentally Change Third-Party Printer Supplies Market” this white paper charts the evolution of the premium compatible cartridge and its potential impact on the market.

ETIRA was disappointed by the biased content of the Actionable Intelligence white paper, assuming that the viewpoint taken may have been influenced by the party or parties commissioning this work.

The focus of the report, praising the advantages of non-infringing SUC (single-use-cartridges), is based on price and IP or regulatory compliance, for which there is a legal requirement and so this is not considered to be a unique selling point. Other aspects such as quality, emissions, health, safety and economic sustainability are seemingly not considered relevant enough to be highlighted in this validation.

In cartridge tests which ETIRA has conducted in the past, we have found violations of chemical legislation and European law apparently across the board of SUC manufacturers, also including leading brands.

We assume that for advanced players it will be possible to manufacture chemically safe, legislation and IP compliant products as stated in the White paper.

But this will come at a cost. Not only at a monetary cost for the buyer but also at a cost for society and the environment.

That SUC manufacturers pay these costs for compliance has not always been the case in the past and has yet to be proven.

That our society would be paying the price for an increased share of SUC and a further reduction of locally remanufactured product is a fact.  It is not just that plastic waste ends up in landfill, but also the loss of local jobs and the unsustainability of the supply chain that are clear and negative factors of SUCs.

According to the European Parliament remanufacturing represents the “Actual mandate of society and the most important innovation need towards the future.”

We are convinced that the authorities and end-users in the EU and elsewhere will continue to increasingly demand environmentally sustainable, society friendly, high-quality and low-priced printing consumables which are remanufactured locally.

For further facts and assessment, we recommend reading a compelling and highly informative document produced under the EU commission mandate which supports our standpoint:

The cartridge remanufacturing study by Oakdene Hollins which you can download here.”

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