January 4, 2023
Print and ink toner remanufacturers across the UK and Europe are cementing their commitment to a greener future, thanks to an initiative launched by ETIRA – the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association.
ETIRA, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, unveiled its certification label in 2021 and is now approaching the key milestone of having more than 1 million of the certification mark labels in circulation.
The labels enable customers to distinguish between printing cartridges which are better for the environment than others.
Javier Martinez, president of ETIRA, explains: “For busy companies, you might not have time to investigate the environmental credentials of your printing cartridges. You might grab the closest – or cheapest – cartridge and worry about the environmental impact later.
“At ETIRA, we have represented inkjet and toner cartridge remanufacturers across Europe for many years, and, as the voice of the industry, we promote reuse across imaging channels, aligning our mission with the European Green Deal’s Circular Economy Action Plan.
“Our certification label differentiates remanufactured Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges from new OEM and non-OEM newbuilds with the aim of raising the profile of remanufactured products produced by ETIRA members, providing a clearer industry view on which cartridges and printing products offer the best environmental performance and, in turn, enabling consumers to differentiate them from cartridges with a larger carbon footprint.”
Why it matters
The environmental footprint of printers and cartridges can be huge. Every year, more than 500 million plastic printer cartridges end up dumped in landfills around the world. In Europe, according to ETIRA’s research, up to 70 per cent of empty toner and inkjet cartridges are incinerated or dumped in landfill every year. Between 80 and 90 percent of these cartridges could be reused.
Remanufacturing cartridges for re-use can reduce their carbon footprint by up to 50 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.
Javier said: “In launching the certification initiative, we hope to provide a clearer industry view on which cartridges and printing products offer better environmental performance.
“A certification mark confirms that product complies with specific quality standards irrespective of its origin. These standards include permitted materials, manufacturing methods and service performances.
“Our new certification label is for ETIRA members to use on their remanufactured cartridges. It provides customers with the assurance it is a genuine remanufactured OEM cartridge that has been correctly placed on the market and remanufactured by an ETIRA member company.”
Making their mark
The label is helping ETIRA members make their mark on the circular economy, with industry leaders such as France-based ARMOR Print Solutions, Germany headquartered KMP and GM Technology in Spain all using the special certification to that showcase their remanufactured products with a superior environmental performance.
Jan-Michael Sieg, CEO at KMP, said: “Being a member of ETIRA brings us a lot of benefits and aligns with what we stand for – reuse before recycle.
“The ETIRA label certification provides an additional assurance an empty cartridge has been remanufactured to a very high standard and placed back on the market. Reusing a cartridge can reduce the CO2 emissions by up to 60% and ETIRA labelled cartridges are safe to use, good for the environment and competitively priced compared to buying the printer manufacturers’ own brand cartridge.
“The ETIRA label is a standard which the cheap jacks of our industry cannot fulfill. It clearly marks the difference between a true eco-friendly, sustainable, high-quality product and green-washed products.”
And, Gerwald van der Gijp, CEO of ARMOR Print Solutions, 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.”
The new label is currently limited to ETIRA members through a qualification process and license agreement.
This means 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.
To receive the certification, each member must commit to follow the agreed process for the selection and remanufacturing of the cartridge and the correct recycling of all waste biproducts.
Javier, said: “Through the certification label, we want to remove the confusion so businesses can clearly identify which cartridges are more sustainable and which will end up in landfill.
“Ultimately, we want to give companies peace of mind so they know that when they buy cartridges, they are making the responsible choice – and the best one for the planet.”