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Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Trashing Toner Bottles The Only Way?

Over the past year or so The PEiR Group has received several inquiries from members wondering if a “greener” approach could be taken to disposal of their toner bottles. Specifically, users of Océs 9700, 9800, and TDS 800 printers wondered if there wasn't a better way to recycle the "thousands" of bottles they get and go through each year.

“I would like to start saving the empty bottles from E-1 toner, and returning them to Océ for reuse,” American Repro's Ken Karbeling says. “Currently they are simply being thrown out, and I am thinking with all of this emphasis on green reprography, a toner bottle recycling program would be very well received…”

As it turns out, however, Océ has an entirely different recommendation when it comes to getting rid of those plastic E-1 bottles – trash them.

“Based on our knowledge about different types of disposal, we advise your customer to dispose of toner bottles through their normal waste,” wrote Michelle Sheldon, former Marketing Services Manager for Océ North America. “This is not what people want to hear, but this is truly the best for our environment.”

Michelle, who has since left Océ for another position, was right when she said that “straight to trash” was not what aspiring green reprographers wanted to hear.

“Other suppliers provide UPS return labels with their products,” Ken says. “We throw out probably over a thousand of these bottles every year. There's got to be a better way...”

But Océ stands firm on its position when it comes to the E-1 bottles, which are made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Polystyrene (PS) plastics.

“If the waste is recycled after being collected it is possible for machines to sort out different types of plastics,” Michelle explains. “Customers can easily dispose our empty Océ bottles and cartridges in the normal waste. Only the rest which can not be recycled will be disposed in a landfill nowadays.”

And if your area doesn’t have a recycling program, and incinerates its waste?

“In the normal process of garbage incineration extra fuels needs to be added to be able to burn normal waste from our households and companies,” Michelle says. “But due to the fact that Océ toner bottles and ink cartridges are made from high quality plastics those bottles and cartridges are even used as an accelerator in the burning process. This is substituting virgin oil in the burning process and therefore reduces the use of natural resources.”

Okay? So there you have it. But if you’re hip-deep in E-1s and you have a better idea for getting rid of them than throwing them in the shop dumpster, let us know by using the “comments” button below.

Meanwhile, access Océs green solutions web site by clicking HERE.

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