Beware of Illegal Printer Cartridges:

May 28, 2024

Beware of Illegal Printer Cartridges: A Call to Action from ETIRA-  ETIRA model protest letter

At the recent The Recycler Live conference, Javier Martinez brought to light a pressing issue facing our industry: the prevalence in the EU market of non-OEM newbuilt printer cartridges that fail to comply with EU regulations. Javier Martínez presented eye-opening research and a stark warning to consumers and industry professionals alike.

The Scope of the Problem

ETIRA’s research reveals that one-third of printer cartridges sold in Europe are non-compliant with EU standards. These newbuilt cartridges, often manufactured in China, lack proper labelling and safety information, making them both illegal and potentially hazardous. The environmental impact is staggering, with these non-compliant cartridges contributing to 420,000 tons of e-waste annually in Europe alone. Moreover, they are responsible for causing early damage to 20% of printers, exacerbating the e-waste problem.

Legal and Environmental Hazards

These newbuilt non-OEM cartridges do not meet critical EU regulations such as CE marking, WEEE, RoHS, and REACH. They often omit essential labels like the waste bin icon, misleading consumers about the appropriate disposal methods and increasing environmental risks. By avoiding these compliance measures, manufacturers reduce costs but at the expense of consumer safety and environmental health.

The Importance of Consumer Education

Educating consumers is crucial in distinguishing between legal and illegal cartridges. ETIRA recommends remanufactured OEM cartridges, particularly those made in Europe, as the best legal and environmentally friendly option. These cartridges comply with all EU regulations and offer significant environmental benefits. By shifting to remanufactured cartridges, we can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 45-60% and lower consumer costs by as much as 60%.

Taking Action

ETIRA calls for increased vigilance and regulatory enforcement to combat the sale of these illegal cartridges. Consumers and businesses should demand proper documentation and report any non-compliant products to authorities. ETIRA has a model letter, available upon request, that members may send to public bodies, to insist that public tenders comply with all EU legal requirements. By ensuring that the cartridges we purchase and use are legal, we can protect our environment and promote sustainable practices within our industry.


The findings underscore the urgent need for regulatory compliance and industry and consumer awareness. The proliferation of illegal, non-compliant newbuild printer cartridges poses significant environmental and public health risks. We can drive positive change in the industry by choosing remanufactured OEM cartridges and supporting compliant practices. ETIRA remains committed to advocating for a safer, more sustainable future in the toner and inkjet remanufacturing sector.

Together, we can make a difference. Let’s act now to ensure the cartridges we use are safe, legal, and environmentally friendly. For more information and to stay updated on our initiatives, visit our website at


ETIRA-commissioned tests find hazardous decaBDE in more newbuilt non-OEM cartridges

December 17, 2018

Tests find more newbuilt non-OEM cartridges containing hazardous decaBDE chemical that is not allowed in electronic products above certain levels.

In late October, industry media reported (The Recycler and Digital Imaging) that several newbuilt non-OEM cartridges had been found to contain excessive levels of Decabromodiphenylether (DecaBDE), a halogenated flame retardant that, because of its health risks, has been prohibited in the EU since 2008 in electronics above certain levels, and fully prohibited in many other products. The original HP equivalent did not contain DEcaBDE.
ETIRA, the European association of companies that remanufacture OEM-printer cartridges for reuse, recently purchased several newbuild non-OEM cartridges and commissioned tests from the German lab TüV Rheinland/LGA to see if there is a pattern.

The results showed that four cartridges had DecaBDE levels ranging from 2,000 mg/kg to a staggering 17,000 mg/kg, although only 1,000 mg/kg is allowed under the EU’s RoHS directive (Restriction on Hazardous Substances) 2011/65/EU. These four products Included Bubprint, sold on Amazon by Druckerpatronen Express, DE, and Prestige Print sold on Amazon by J&H GREENTECH and Trading Ltd, UK, (both compatible to HP17A), as well as Koala sold on Amazon by Lucky Suppliers Handels GmbH, DE and Yellow Yeti, sold on Amazon by Simple Printing Ltd, UK (both compatible to HP26X).
“These results are very worrying”, said Vincent van Dijk, ETIRA Secretary-General. “The tests showed that these were not isolated accidents, but that there is a major systemic issue in the overall market with newbuilt non-OEM cartridges from Asia that contain extremely high levels of a hazardous chemical. It is very serious that thousands of newbuild non-OEM cartridges are sold across Europe every day if many of them violate EU health and safety regulations. And a lot of suppliers even claim that they are REACH and/or RoHS compliant, which they obviously are not. ETIRA again calls on EU and national authorities to remove all hazardous cartridges from the market, and customers should refrain from buying them. “

ETIRA will further ascertain the REACH/RoHS registrations and factories of origin of these products, as well as test more products. We are also reporting many cartridge suppliers to national authorities for failure to register under WEEE.

Translate »