Dave's Eco-nomics: Printer circuit

GREEN ALERT - News just in: when you throw stuff away it doesn't disappear. But what difference does the odd printer cartridge make? Well ... millions of the things end up in landfill sites in the UK every year, and the plastic can take a thousand years to decompose. Given that used printer cartridges contain residual ink and aluminium along with the casing, that's not exactly good for our planet. But it's not just our beloved orb that's hurting. A Which? survey a few years ago revealed that printer ink was about eight times more expensive than Dom Perignon champagne. If that wasn't enough to make your wallet wince, your printer will often tell you the cartridge is empty when there's still a decent amount of ink left. Landfill sites have been estimated to contain £100m of raw materials from discarded printer cartridges.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

ACTION PLAN - Don't recycle! It's better to re-manufacture existing cartridges than to waste energy turning them into something else. The original manufacturers may not be keen on the process, but when a cartridge can be reused three to seven times with no discernible reduction in quality, it makes both eco and economic sense. Plenty of vendors offer re-manufactured cartridges. The alternative - binning them once they're done - is rather like replacing your chicken every time it lays an egg.

GREENIE POINTS - Two - it'll be better for your budget, as well as for the soil.

Dave Waller is MT's resident eco-prefect.

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