Nearly every country including the United States has their own unique laws and regulations when it comes to the recycling of printer ink cartridges from printers. However, it seems as if the practices in the United States are lagging far behind when it comes to making bold moves that will actually have a positive impact on the environment. In fact, America is rated very low when it comes to the practices implemented for the recycling of printer ink cartridges when compared to other regions of the world.
For instance, in Europe there is an organization known as The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive or WEEE for short. The European Union put this directive together in 2003. It forces all companies who produce printer ink cartridges to set up actual collection and recycling centers for the waste created by their products. This has allowed Europe to cut back on the waste of printer ink cartridges and has made it very simple for consumers to discard of their used printer ink cartridges.
Europe has also forced these types of recyclable materials to have a logo placed on them that depicts a garbage bin with an X over it to remind consumers that they are required to recycle these items and should not toss them out.
This is very different in the United States. Manufacturers of printer cartridges are not required by law to create recycling centers or to encourage recycling of their products. However, many printer companies have started their own recycling programs in order to gain more acceptance by eco-friendly consumers. The problem with these American based recycling systems for ink cartridges is the fact that 80% of them actually require the consumer to pay a fee in order for their cartridges to be recycled.
The problem is that when the cost of ink cartridges in the United States is so high and can run upwards of eighty-dollars or more, consumers are not really all that willing to fork over another ten or twenty dollars after they have used the cartridges, to have them recycled. That is why many eco-friendly organizations have started to spring up all over America that actually take on this fee themselves and in some cases actually pay consumers for their empty ink cartridges.
Canada also falls in line with the reasoning of the United States but seems to make it easier for consumers to discard of their used ink cartridges and even general computer equipment. In fact, there are very few programs which actually require consumers to pay for these types of services in Canada.
Australia seems at the top of the game with their cartridge recycling programs that work like Europe but additionally allow consumers to even send not only the ink cartridges but also the packaging that they were boxed in. This packaging is then recycled! This seems to be a growing trend in other countries.
The question still remains, why is the ink printer recycling programs in the United States so slim and foolish in comparison to other countries? As world leaders, shouldn’t American Government officials be creating and putting better recycling systems into use?
This Article is written by John C Arkin.
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