Lexmark today issued a call to action to the printer cartridge industry in Europe, urging it to support a range of measures to curb waste and encourage re-use and recycling.
These measures support the European Commission's recently adopted Circular Economy Package, a plan of action which includes measures to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy.
Lexmark estimates 30 000-50 000 tonnes of printer cartridges end up in landfill each year as a result of the industry's poor rate of collection from customers.1Nathan Nayagar, Managing Director for Lexmark – South Africa and English speaking Africa, says: "The concept of the circular economy is something that Lexmark has supported since it was founded in 1991, and the remanufacturing of printer cartridges has been at the core of the company's business strategy since day one.
"With the European Commission having now published its new proposals for promoting the circular economy, the timing is perfect to call on the printer cartridge industry in Europe to support measures to curb waste by encouraging re-use and recycling. We now call on our industry to promote sound practice and good policy to alleviate the issues around printer cartridge waste and the poor rates of collection and re-use."
Lexmark has made significant strides in curbing waste and encourages re-use and recycling of its cartridges through the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP), a pioneering recycling initiative, and the availability of its Lexmark Corporate Cartridges, the company's most sustainable line of cartridges, which contain up to 90% re-used components.
Lexmark is also a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's "Circular Economy 100" programme, a global platform that brings together 100 market-leading businesses to address the issues around the transition to the circular economy model. Lexmark's membership is a recognition of the company's ongoing commitment to building a regenerative economy.
In its submission to the European Commission's "Preparatory Consultation on the Circular Economy", Lexmark has called for legislative and regulatory changes to address the issue. These changes are in line with the European Commission's goal to foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.
The submission states the measures are needed not only to encourage the collection, re-use and recycling of printer cartridges in Europe, but also to allow companies that apply good environmental practice to compete on fair terms with those that do not.
Lexmark wants EU action to require:
* All suppliers to provide a free take-back facility for cartridges they place on the European market;
* All printer cartridges sold in Europe by 2020 to include 50% remanufactured components or be recyclable;
* Compulsory environmental criteria to be introduced into public procurement requirements as they relate to printer cartridges;
* Remanufacturing and recycling of products to be promoted by user labelling intended to guarantee quality operating performance; and
* Disposal of printer cartridges to landfill or incineration without energy recovery to be made illegal by providing incentives for suppliers to collect and re-use their products.
Lexmark has proposed further measures to encourage material re-use, having witnessed the benefits of going circular through its free and convenient printer cartridge take-back service, the LCCP:
* The LCCP collection rate is 35%, nearly twice the industry average, and none of the cartridges returned to Lexmark are sent to landfill or for incineration.
* Recycling a used Lexmark toner cartridge reduces its total carbon footprint by more than 50%.
* Lexmark's Corporate Cartridges can include up to 90% of re-used components, and 92% of all Lexmark cartridges contain post-consumer recycled content.
* Remanufacturing is a core part of Lexmark's business. By 2018, Lexmark aims to re-use 50% by weight of returned cartridges – up from an industry leading 34% today (Lexmark Lifecycle Assessment).*
From Zero Waste Europe:
"Zero Waste Europe supports Lexmark's initiative to preserve the energy and resources embedded in laser cartridges through re-use and recycling. Today, producer responsibility schemes cover only 32.5% of municipal solid waste2 and hence there is room to enlarge the scope and set concrete re-use and recycling targets for this waste stream.
"We call on the European Commission to consider applying Extended Producer Responsibility legislation to printer cartridges in order to close the material loop in this sector," said Joan Marc Simon, ZWE's Director
* Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP) EMEA Web site – Mobile App page
* Ellen MacArthur Foundation's "Circular Economy 100"
Lexmark (NYSE: LXK) creates enterprise software, hardware and services that remove the inefficiencies of information silos and disconnected processes, connecting people to the information they need at the moment they need it. Open the possibilities at www.Lexmark.com.
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1 Infotrends primary Study 2011 WE Supplies Recycling and 2014 complementary study on remanufacturing and recycling
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