ETIRA demands ‘fast action’ following EU’s Circular Economy report

August 5, 2020

The European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA) has issued an open letter to the EU, demanding ‘fast action’ to stop the ‘devastating impact’ the printing industry is having on the environment.

The letter, published on ETIRA’s website, responds to the EU’s Circular Economy report, stating that at present, consumers and small business owners are currently tied to buy expensive, environmentally damaging ink cartridge replacements from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), rather than being given the choice to reuse them time and again.

ETIRA is calling on the European Commission to end this cycle, banning chips and firmware updates, introducing a minimum number for reuse cartridges, and by stopping the import of cheap and polluting single-use cartridges from outside the EU.

ETIRA President, Javier Martinez

Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, said: “We need fast action to stop consumers and smaller business owners being held hostage by the big OEM’s.”

“A change in legislation would give consumers the freedom to choose the type of ink cartridges they purchase, putting environmentally friendly reuse cartridges on the table.”.  

“It is hard to believe, but today you need 26 cartridges to print 10,000 pages vs just one cartridge 20 years ago!

“With green issues so high on the agenda across Europe we need to see legislation to help us in the printing industry work to reduce, remake and recycle – creating a circular economy in printing, in line with the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan.”

The current printing business model has a devastating impact on the environment, creating huge waste due to the short life of the printing hardware, combined with single-use cartridges:

  • Cartridges create 2.5% of total small and medium electronic appliances waste
  • Both the Small Office (SOHO) and home printer repair rate is zero
  • The average operating time for home printer usage is only five hours during its expected four years of operational life.
  • The average total cartridge operating time is just 19 minutes

Javier Martinez added: “Sadly, buying a new machine is often cheaper than buying a new set of cartridges, meaning people throw away both the device and reusable cartridges. This has to stop.”

“We support the EU’s 2020 proposal for a Circular Economy. However, its current suggestion for a Voluntary Agreement for the printing sector can only be a real solution if it stops anti-cartridge reuse elements such as chips and firmware updates, creates a minimum number for reuse cartridges, and stops the invasion of cheap and polluting single use non-OEM cartridges from outside the EU. “

Martinez added: “We hope our open letter, agreed by all our members across the EU is effective in communicating this message and raising awareness of the urgent need for change”.

ETIRA believes there is a real opportunity for change. New legislation in this industry would see environmental improvements and generate up to 25,000 new jobs across Europe.

“There is so much good to be gained from changes to this sector and we want to see this pushed up the agenda and discussed,” concluded Mr. Martinez,

To read ETIRA’s open letter to the European Commission, click here

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An open letter to the European Commission, in response to the EU’s Circular Economy Report

July 31, 2020

When you buy a car, you are not told you can only fill it up at a certain petrol station – but when you buy a printer your hands are tied to the costly ink cartridge replacements sold by the manufacturer of the printer. This needs to change.

We are writing as the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA), a non-profit organisation, representing the interests of the inkjet and toner cartridge remanufacturers.

In response to the welcome publication of the EU’s Circular Economy plan, we are calling for the EU to now take fast action against the way that printer manufacturers, who are for the most part based outside the EU, are holding consumers hostage to costly and environmental damaging replacements for their ink.

Our industry, a textbook example of Circular Economy, should be experiencing strong growth as we improve the European environment, provide savings for consumers, and create jobs. But the reality is that it is shrinking, and this is mainly due to the lack of a regulatory European framework facilitating cartridge reuse. The current EU approach, whereby printer manufacturers have only voluntary commitments to reduce the environmental impact of printing, (EU “Voluntary Agreement Imaging Equipment”, VAIE), has massively hindered cartridge reuse.

The current printing business model has a devastating impact on the environment, creating huge waste due to the short life of printing hardware combined with single-use cartridges mostly made from plastics. In addition to the single use cartridges from the printer manufacturers, there is an invasion of cheap non-OEM single use cartridges from Asia into Europe. Those cartridges may be a health and safety risk, because tests have shown that the chemicals and plastics used did not comply with minimum EU standards and are therefore not suitable for reuse or recycling.

According to the recent study commissioned by the EU (Task 1-7 assessment) on the deliverables of the last Voluntary Agreement:

  • Cartridges create 2.5% of total small and medium electronic appliances’ waste
  • Both the Small Office (SOHO) and home printer repair rate is zero
  • The average operating time for home printer usage is only five hours during its expected four years’ life.
  • The average total operational cartridge life is just 19 minutes
  • Globally, the recovery thresholds for producers are far from being reached, and some OEM’s still incinerate 100 % (!) of what they recover

It is shocking to see that today you need 26 cartridges to print 10,000 pages vs. just one cartridge 20 years ago!

These increases in totally unnecessary plastic, metal, and other waste, in addition to the invasion of non-OEM single use plastic cartridges, must be stopped. Printer manufacturers should commit to implementing clear and measurable re-use objectives and targets. That is why we need an end to anti-cartridge reuse tactics such as chips and firmware updates that are blocking re-use cartridges, we need a minimum percentage reserved for reuse cartridges in the total number of cartridges placed on the EU market, and we need a full stop to the invasion of cheap and polluting single use non-OEM plastic cartridges from outside the EU.

ETIRA fears that it will be close to impossible for a Voluntary Agreement to achieve these objectives.

Especially in the current macro-economic situation, it is important to note that for printing, the remanufacturing industry does and will create jobs inside the EU: merely doubling the current rate of reuse would generate up to 16,000 – 20,000 additional jobs across the EU.

Now is the time for change. We need to see new legislation to reduce, promote preparation for re-use (e.g. remanufacturing) and raw material recycling – and thus create a circular economy in printing, in line with the Circular Economy Action Plan. The current original equipment manufacturer (OEM) printing business model is coercive to end users, wastes limited resources, and generates unnecessary waste. We want to see that changed.

Consumers should have freedom of choice, in line with the upcoming “right to repair and reuse” concept included in the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan, instead of having their hands tied to one supplier. We know that the size of ink content and cartridges has decreased over time, while the price of printing is skyrocketing and that should not be allowed to continue.

We hear the stories of people buying a home printer, buying expensive ink cartridges and then finding that, when there is a problem with the printer, it is cheaper to just buy a new one that comes with new ink cartridges, rather than to repair the printer.

This has to stop. Our society cannot accept it. No other industry would accept this.

On behalf of all our members, businesses and consumers across Europe, we want to truly empower customer freedom of choice by facilitating true competition between OEM dealers and remanufacturers. Currently there is no freedom of choice and repair in the sector and no meaningful secondhand market.

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ETIRA welcomes the forthcoming EU Circular Economy Action plan

February 10, 2020

Draft paper on EU Circular Economy Action Plan announces regulatory measures on printers and consumables in Eco-design Directive promoting circularity in energy-related products.

Brussels, 10 February 2020 – A draft Communication from the EU Commission on the EU Circular Economy Action Plan says that as a priority, regulatory measures for printers and consumables such as cartridges, will be included in the EU eco-design Directive promoting circularity in energy-related products (2020-2024 Working Plan).

ETIRA acknowledges the strong determination and congratulates the EU Commission and the member states to speed up and advance the circular economy, for a cleaner and more competitive Europe, something that has been in ETIRA’s DNA since it was created.

Javier Martinez, President of ETIRA, commented on the draft proposals. “Waste prevention, green jobs creation and climate change defence actions, are all well addressed in the draft plan. We are pleased that following ETIRA’s long term campaign, we now see printers and cartridges as one of the priority eco-design actions for the EU.  This is something ETIRA has been asking for quite some time, and ETIRA is fully committed to it!

The plan represents a huge opportunity to rebalance the market, which up to now has been challenged because of imported non-compliant products.

As Europe transitions from a linear to a circular economy model, it is crucial that all parties move forward together, and that the doors to Europe are closed to infringing products.

ETIRA continues to support and makes every possible effort to transition to a Circular Economy, which empowers consumers, enables real reduction of waste, delivers a cleaner Europe, and generates new green jobs” .

ETIRA 2017-2018 Activity Report published !

July 2, 2017

The 2017-2018 ETIRA Activity Report was published on 3 July 2017.

Download your copy (PDF, 14 pages) here: Annual Report 2017-2018

New York recommends remanufactured cartridges

May 27, 2013

Even the City of New York recommends use of remanufactured cartridges, see here:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/

wasteless/atwork_govt_measurement_tools_toner.shtml

MPS programme may include remanufactured cartridges

March 7, 2013

Using remanufactured cartridges under your MPS-programme: more profits and less CO2 emissions !

MPS is the new way to optimize printing costs whilst reducing the hassle. And if you use remanufactured cartridges under your MPS programme, you can even save twice as much !
ETIRA has developed a short presentation which outlines why you should do MPS-business with our Members. Download your free copy of the ETIRA MPS presention here.

Remanufactured cartridges are top-quality!

Top-quality: Cartridges bought from an ETIRA-member are 100% reliable

Original cartridges are often more expensive per liter than vintage champagne…..

So why bother ?
You do not need to pay a fortune to get top-quality cartridges: if you buy from an ETIRA-member your are sure to get a top-quality product for a reasonable price.

For obvious reasons, some Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s, our competitors) tend to argue that non-original cartridges are less reliable. But many independent studies, consumer surveys etc, published during the last few years prove that non-originals are as good as (and sometimes even better than !) the original product ! And this conclusion is logic: each ETIRA Member has his own certified product/service quality system. And often they also apply one or more of the schemes referred to below.

DIN
DIN is short for Deutsche Industrie Norm, the worldwide renowned German institute for standardization. DIN has elaborated several standards for remanufactured toner and inkjet cartridges. DIN standards 33870, 33871 and can be obtained from DIN, please refer to www.din.de.
DIN 33870 Information technology; Office machines – Requirements and tests for the preparation of refilled toner modules for electrophotographical printers, copiers and facsimile machines
DIN 33871-1 Information technology; Office machines – Requirements and tests for the preparation of refilled toner modules for electrophotographical printers, copiers and facsimile machines
Several ETIRA members apply DIN standards in their production process.

STMC
STMC stands for the Standardized Test Methods Committee. This global committee formed to find and promote standardized test methods for the printer cartridge industry. The test methods are used to evaluate toner printer cartridge performance. Standardized test methods make it possible to evaluate a cartridge anywhere and come up with the same test results no matter who tests it. Standardized tests do not specify how a cartridge must perform; they only measure it.
ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials), is an independent, organization of volunteers that work under very strict rules that force objectivity to write test methods. STMC and ASTM are not one and the same thing. The STMC has accepted several ASTM International test methods as well as ISO, ISTA, and ANSI test methods.
A company that is STMC certified is one that has had their employees successfully trained by an authorized trainer in these test methods, attests to using these test methods, and has purchased the correct test equipment.

Several ETIRA members have obtained the STMC-accreditation for their products. 
Please click here for full details on STMC.

BLUE ANGEL
The Blue Angel is the first and oldest environment-related label in the world for products and services. It was created in 1977 on the initiative of the Federal Minister of the Interior and approved by the Ministers of the Environment of the national government and the federal states.
One label says more than a thousand words
The task which is associated with the Environmental Label is clearly defined: the Blue Angel promotes the concerns of both environmental protection and consumer protection. Therefore it is awarded to products and services which are particularly beneficial for the environment in an all-round consideration and which also fulfil high standards of occupational health and safety and fitness for use. Economical use of raw materials, production, usage, service life and disposal – all these factors are assigned a high importance. Products which are awarded the label bear the logo of the Blue Angel directly on the product whereby service companies use it on materials used to offer their services.

The Blue Angel environmental label is the property of the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety. It is sponsored and administered by the Federal Environmental Agency and the quality assurance and product labelling institute RAL Deutsches Institut für Gütesicherung und Kennzeichnung e.V. All technical demands placed on products and services for the award of the Environmental Label are decided by the independent Environmental Label jury. The award of the Blue Angel is entrusted to the RAL Deutsches Institut für Gütesicherung und Kennzeichnung e.V. – with the participation of the Federal Environmental Agency and the federal state in which the manufacturer or supplier of the respective product or service has its registered office. The Federal Environmental Agency is responsible, among other things, for the development of requirements for the award of the Blue Angel – and the Environmental Label jury has its office in the Federal Environmental Agency.
Several ETIRA members have obtained the blue angel accreditation for their toner products. Please click here for the official website of the Blue Angel.

NORDIC SWAN
The Swan is the official Nordic ecolabel, introduced by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Swan logo demonstrates that a product is a good environmental choice. The green symbol is available for around 60 product groups for which it is felt that ecolabelling is needed and will be beneficial. These days, everything from washing-up liquid to furniture and hotels can carry the Swan label.
The Swan checks that products fulfil certain criteria using methods such as samples from independent laboratories, certificates and control visits.
The label is usually valid for three years, after which the criteria are revised and the company must reapply for a licence. In this way, we ensure that products better suited to the environment are constantly being developed.
The Swan’s requirements:
A product carrying the Swan label meets extremely high environmental standards.
• The Swan takes into consideration the product’s impact on the environment from the raw material to waste – i.e. throughout the product’s lifecycle.
• The Swan also sets criteria with regard to quality and performance. The product must offer at features which are at least as good as other similar products.
• To ensure that a Swan-labelled product is always at the cutting edge from an environmental point-of-view, criteria are revised repeatedly.
The criteria for toner cartridges can be found on the website of Nordic Swan.
Companies applying for a licence to use the Swan label must provide results from independent testing to prove that the criteria have been met.
Several ETIRA members have obtained the Nordic Swan accreditation for their products.Please

Application for membership

Want to grow your business ? Then join ETIRA

ETIRA represents the interests of the toner and inkjet remanufacturing industry at European level.
Every day, we are working on your behalf:

  • fighting anti-remanufacturing devices like clever chips
  • pro-actively informing the general public about remanufactured cartridges (flyers, website, outreach)
  • helping you to “business network” with your colleagues/competitors at our regular meetings across Europe
  • promoting quality remanufacturing (like the DIN/CEN/ISO standardization work meetings)

On our website www.etira.org you will find an in-depth overview of our activities.

Membership is open to any company that remanufactures inkjet, toner or ribbon products, as well as to collectors, brokers, suppliers, services suppliers, technical services & equipment, manufacturing of compatibles, ink, and wholesale/retail sales, etc.
If you qualify under any of the abovementioned business activities, you should join our association so you too can benefit from membership advantages and grow your business.
Over 50 remanufacturing companies and their suppliers are already member of ETIRA, including many major players. For an updated list of ETIRA members, please look on the homepage of this website (under the “Find Members”-section).

To join us now, you only need to download here the application form. Print it, fill it out, and sign it. Then fax it back to us, that’s all!