Reusable chips on cartridges

October 17, 2019

ETIRA welcomes Brother Industries’ efforts on eco-design  and  environment, by allowing easier cartridge reuse

ETIRA, the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers  Association welcomes, recognizes and congratulates Brother Industries on its latest strategy and action in favour of a cleaner Europe, and endorsing cartridge remanufacturing as a top priority.

Brother has fitted chips on recent cartridge models, and although the independent cartridge remanufacturing industry initially feared these chips would hinder and obstruct remanufacturing of the cartridge (like chips from most OEMs do!),  this is not the case with these particular Brother chips.  When these cartridges run empty, their chips can be easily reused time and time again.  And while this chip protects Brother’s IP -rights, it does not obstruct remanufacturing of the cartridge by independent cartridge remanufacturers.

In ETIRA’s view, this Brother strategy represents a key milestone in the fight against single-use cartridges (“SUCK”s as they are known in the market), and addresses the needs of our society which calls for product reuse and meets the European Directive on Eco-Design.

It also represents a major step forward into applying the “4R”- hierarchy,  which places preparation for reuse and remanufacturing above other options like mere recycling of the materials, incineration or landfill.

ETIRA calls on all other printer manufacturers and the European authorities to follow the example set by Brother. Chips can enhance cartridge functionality but must never hinder cartridge reuse.

We also ask for EU-wide mandatory and increasing minimum reuse thresholds for cartridges.  This is what some EU member states, that are truly aware of the damage that single-use plastic cartridges represent to the European environment, are already calling for.

Cartridges are WEEE, electronic waste, and as such their preparation for reuse is the top priority, as  WEEE  account for  70% of toxicity on waste.

For this, there should be an obligation  on printer manufacturers to share data with 3rd  parties under  a license  agreement, similar  to the arrangements existing in the car industry where  manufacturers  are  obliged  to  supply  independent  3rd  party  repairers all  information  they require to  do maintenance  and  repair  of  all  vehicles,  including software,  parts  catalogues, manuals, etc.

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