ETIRA supports two consumer associations criticising HP

December 21, 2023

Recently, the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) has publicly announced its support for two leading consumer associations in their criticism of HP’s pricing strategies and the use of Dynamic Security in its products. This announcement is a response to recent developments highlighting HP’s practices that negatively impact consumers and sustainability efforts.

HP’s economic challenges have led to a strategic shift in its approach to Dynamic Security, a technology used to authenticate cartridges. This shift, aimed at expanding the scope of Dynamic Security, is set to lock out more aftermarket consumables. Many printers will only work when connected to the internet, and they lock out non-new HP cartridges. As a result, consumers are forced to rely on HP’s more expensive ink and toner cartridges. This move increases costs for consumers and poses a significant setback for sustainability efforts.

Recent reports in the Dutch consumer magazine Consumentengids and a study by the UK’s Which? have brought to light the significant price increases in HP ink cartridges, with some soaring by as much as 58% since 2011. These increases notably outstrip the inflation rate for the same period. Additionally, original printer ink remains prohibitively expensive, costing more per millilitre than luxury items like Dom Perignon Champagne and The Macallan Whisky.

ETIRA stands with the consumer associations in calling out these practices. The association emphasizes that limiting the use of refilled cartridges burdens consumers financially and undermines efforts to promote environmental sustainability. In an era where consumer rights and eco-friendliness are increasingly prioritized, HP’s tightening of Dynamic Security features appears misaligned with these values.

ETIRA urges HP to reconsider its strategy, focusing instead on policies that support consumer choice and sustainable practices, like cartridge reuse. The association believes that such a change is not only in the best interest of consumers but is also crucial for the long-term reputation and trust of the HP brand.

ETIRA remains committed to advocating for fair, competitive practices in the toner and inkjet market, ensuring that the rights of consumers and the importance of sustainability are upheld.

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Member Update – Special members only meeting

November 3, 2023

MARK YOUR DIARY: 12 DECEMBER AT 4 p.m.: ONLINE ETIRA MEMBER-ONLY INFO MEETING ON INDUSTRY REGULATION  – BE THERE! 

ETIRA invites all its members to an online meeting on 12 December to learn about the upcoming EU rules for our industry. The planned regulation is an industry-first and will materially impact how you can do your business for years. We already gave you some top-line info on 25 September, but now it is time for details. Members should be fully aware of the plans and express their views. So please don’t get caught off-guard:  Join us on 12 December at 4 p.m. for a virtual info and networking session with your fellow members!

Log-in details will follow in December.

The online meeting will also approve ETIRA’s new statutes. As mentioned before, changes in the overall Belgian legislation require groups like ETIRA to adjust their laws to conform to the new rules. The changes are mainly administrative.

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ETIRA to exhibit at Remanexpo 2024

October 31, 2023

ETIRA and several members to exhibit with a dedicated pavilion at Remanexpo, Part of Ambiente, this coming 26 – 30 January.

ETIRA has confirmed its participation in Remanexpo, a prominent segment of the renowned Ambiente trade fair. Scheduled to take place from January 26 to 30, 2024, in Frankfurt, Germany, this event promises to be a pivotal platform for the promotion of sustainable printing solutions.

Visitors to the ETIRA Pavilion, nestled within Forum 1 Hall, can expect to gain valuable insights into the latest activities of the association and its positive lobbying activities that have a positive impact on the environment. Several ETIRA members are co-sponsoring the pavilion. Thus the pavilion will serve as a meeting point for industry professionals, offering a casual atmosphere for discussions and networking opportunities.

ARMOR Print Solutions SAS is one of the co-sponsors. Their CEO, Gerwald van der Gijp, said: “ARMOR Print Solutions is proud to endorse the ETIRA Pavilion on the Remanexpo show, illustrating that integrating sustainability and social responsibility into your core business strategy can lead to a thriving and prosperous business.”

ETIRA, a leading voice in the remanufacturing sector, will use the occasion to highlight its ongoing efforts in promoting sustainable printing practices and the benefits of remanufactured printer consumables. Attendees are encouraged to drop by for a friendly chat, a refreshing coffee, or even something a little stronger at 5 p.m. to toast to the future of sustainable printing.

“We are delighted to participate in the Remanexpo show, standing united with ETIRA to further our collective mission in advancing sustainable printing solutions.” Said Jan-Michael Seig, CEO of KMP AG, who is also co-sponsoring.

The ETIRA Pavilion’s presence at Remanexpo wouldn’t have been possible without the generous sponsorship of industry leaders. Other co-sponsors, including IMEX, Katun, Delacamp, and The Recycler, have all contributed to making this showcase a reality, emphasizing their commitment to sustainable printing and the role of remanufactured products in achieving this goal.

“The Recycler wholeheartedly supports ETIRA and the invaluable work they continue to do in championing sustainability within the printing industry. Through the ETIRA Pavilion at Remanexpo, ETIRA highlights its initiatives for the benefit of its members and the broader office printing community.” Commented Stefanie Unland, Editor and Publisher of The Recycler.

Peter Knak, General Manager at IMEX Europe, said: “Supporting the crucial work of ETIRA, our participation in the Remanexpo show underscores our commitment to eco-friendly printing practices.”

The pavilion is expected to be a hotbed of conversation, offering a glimpse into the latest developments in remanufacturing and upcoming legislation and services. This event is an excellent opportunity for businesses and individuals looking to reduce their environmental footprint without compromising on quality.

“ETIRA’s dedication to sustainable remanufacturing aligns with our values, and we are honoured to be part of the Remanexpo show in support of their vital efforts.” Said Heidi Boller, General Manager for Katun EMEA.

ETIRA’s presence at Remanexpo, supported by its esteemed sponsors, underscores the growing importance of sustainable printing solutions in today’s world. With a focus on reducing waste and promoting eco-conscious practices, this event is set to make a significant impact on the printing industry. Make sure to mark your calendars and visit the ETIRA Pavilion at Ambiente 2024 for a taste of the future of printing.

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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.

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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 www.etira.org

ENDS

Please direct any questions or editorial requests to info@etira.org

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ETIRA’s certification label: Helping consumers make the right choice

September 8, 2023

Making the right environmental choice when choosing your office supplies and consumables can feel overwhelming at times, with so many conflicting messages and greenwashed promises out in the open market.

That’s why ETIRA created its Certification Label, launched in late 2021.

The label was designed by the association to help consumers easily distinguish between printing cartridges that are better for the environment than others, differentiating remanufactured Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges from new OEM and non-OEM newbuilds.

Here, we highlight the success of the label to date, as well as why it matters and how remanufacturers can adopt the mark:

It empowers consumers

With an estimated 70 percent of cartridges thrown away in Europe, after just one use, there is an urgent need for the industry to take responsibility for its environmental footprint and help consumers make more sustainable choices when it comes to printing.

By bringing the certification label to the marketplace, ETIRA is empowering consumers to choose products based on the strength of a cartridge’s environmental performance and allowing them to differentiate from products with poor green credentials.

More than one million in circulation

To date, there is already more than one million ETIRA Certification Labels in use across Europe. ETIRA members, such as ARMOR Print Solutions, have taken the initiative on board and are using it to showcase their products with a superior environmental performance.

Gerwald van der Gijp, CEO of Armor

Commenting on the company’s use of the label in 2022, Gerwald van der Gijp, CEO of ARMOR, said: “For us, the stickers and ETIRA certification is real proof of our engagement and commitment to respect the European environmental regulation and quality standards. It certifies that we remanufacture high quality products that are safe for the health of our customers. 

“It will provide transparency to distributors, resellers and users of what is real and what is often fake. It will help customers to clearly identify good cartridges versus cheap and dangerous ones.”

ETIRA members can adopt the label

The Certification Label is available to all remanufacturers who are members of ETIRA.

To adopt the label, members must fulfil a qualification process and license agreement before they can apply the certification mark to their own brand of cartridges, as well as any brand of cartridges they have produced for a third party that complies with the license requirements.

For further information, email info@etira.org

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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 3.1.1.3 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.

Contact:

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

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Don’t associate with forced labour: Stop buying products from Chinese companies Ninestar, Apex, G&G and others asap

June 21, 2023

As of 12 June 2023, the US banned all imports of products from Chinese companies Ninestar and subsidiaries and 8 Zhuhai-based subsidiaries, including Pantum Electronics., Apex Microelectronics, G&G Digital Technology, under their Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act*. These companies were added to a US government list that includes “entities working with the government of Xinjiang to recruit, transport, transfer, harbor or receive forced labor or Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted groups out of Xinjiang* .  And as a result, the US has banned all imports of products, such as cartridges, equipment, components, etc. 

The US prohibition has worldwide impact because these products are traded globally. And while there is no official import ban (yet?) in wider Europe, there is the clear ethical question of “do we want to allow such practices ?”   Therefore, ETIRA, representing European remanufacturers of OEM toner and inkjet cartridges, calls on all European companies and public bodies to stop as soon as possible the purchase of products from these companies. All European businesses must ensure that their products are not related to forced labor in any way, to avoid Code of conduct violations and other assurances they give their customers about their products. ETIRA recommends European consumers and businesses to buy reuse OEM cartridges from trusted suppliers in wider Europe, and asks public bodies and local governments to lead by example.

ETIRA also refers to a 12 June 2023 letter to its US customers by Lexmark**,  a US-printer manufacturer OEM in which Ninestar has an indirect majority ownership. Lexmark writes that Ninestar was one of its suppliers in the US, but due to this development, will no longer source from them. If even their own companies refuse to buy Ninestar products, you should too.

   *https://www.dhs.gov/uflpa-entity-list

**https://tonernews.com/forums/topic/lexmark-release-official-statement-and-takes-immediate-action-to-stop-imports-from-chinas-ninestar/

BACKGROUND

The 2021 US Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act  strengthens the existing prohibition against the importation of goods made wholly or in part with forced laborinto the United States and to end the systematic use of forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.  https://www.dhs.gov/uflpa

In August  2022, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)  published a report on the region, concluding that “serious human rights violations” against the Uyghur and “other predominantly Muslim communities” have been committed. https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/08/1125932  – (…..) This has included far-reaching, arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, in violation of international laws and standards”, including restrictions on religious freedom and the rights to privacy and movement.

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ETIRA and industry meet in Barcelona

June 19, 2023

100-delegate The Recycler Live conference in partnership with ETIRA, celebrated 30 years of The Recycler, 20 years of ETIRA, and 100 years of Armor at 2-day info and networking session in sunny Barcelona.

On 15-16 June, ETIRA held its 2023 annual and anniversary meeting in Barcelona in the context of the “The Recycler Live Europe” conference. With approx. 100 delegates it was again the #1 event to meet fellow industry members, and hear the latest industry data. 

On Thursday, the event kicked off with an exciting adress on the market challenges by Armor’s Gerwald van der Gijp. The EBP Denner Group spoke about their joint work, and Biuromax about the benefits of remanufacturing. Jan de Kesel addressed consumable delivery planning, and via video the European NGO Right to Repair showed their Brussels’ lobbying activities for this key right. Keypoint Intelligence provided useful recent market insights, and ETIRA’s President Javier Martinez highlighted the positive effects for our industry of the EU’s Green Deal.

At the ETIRA members’ only meeting, the trade body dealt with the compulsory finance and other statutory matters, re-appointed the current Board for a new 2-year period, addressed the ETIRA sticker’s marketing programme, and approved the updated Annual Report. But members also discussed the week’s shocking news of the US import ban imposed on Ninestar and several of its affiliates. President Javier Martinez briefed the floor about our work on the upcoming industry EU ecodesign regulation. 

The Reception and Dinner, during which The Recycler presented the winners of the industry’s Annual Awards, was extra festive as the group celebrated the three anniversaries and paid tribute to all persons that had contributed to reaching these milestones.

On Friday, GM Technology’s Zoltan Matyas showed how to really connect with your customer, and Delacamp walked delegates through the latest developments in OEM OPC and toner technology. There was online participation from the regional government of the Balearic islands, who recently implemented Europe’s first ban on single-use cartridges there. Chip supplier Zhono spoke about challenges and offerings, and David Connett wrapped up with a critical view on greenwashing.

ETIRA kindly thanks organisers Stefanie Unland from The Recycler Magazine, David Connett from Connett & Unland GbR and the sponsors for making this event possible: ARMOR Print Solutions, GM Technology, Biuromax, EBP Denner Group and Zhono Microelectronics Co., Ltd.

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