Halve the carbon footprint of laser printer cartridges

polar bear on iceberg

All due respect to scientists and academics, but studies run the risk of being boring don't they?

Yes. So we've done our best to put together some awe-inspiring photos of the Arctic from some of the world's top photographers. To support non-destructive appreciation of this peerless wilderness, we shunned free image libraries in favour of paying royalties for rarely seen and highly professional images. Enjoy.

map of Arctic ocean View from the top. The Arctic Ocean is hemmed in by land.
Illustration: FreeTransform

CO2 /2

So what's our idea on this page? Simple. If you use our products, you'll halve your carbon footprint vis-a-vis using an original laser printer toner cartridge.

We're going to say that again ..... cuts it by half .... a full 50%.

Imagine how pleased Al Gore and everyone else would be if there was a way to cut the planet's greenhouse gas output by half. We'd be ice-dancing in the streets, wouldn't we? Now imagine that this new basis for world technology only cost a third of what it used to. That would be worth a page on the internet, wouldn't it? And our figures do stack up: half the carbon at a third of the price.

Here are the 3 studies on which we base our claim. We include links if possible and/or detailed citations so you can see the evidence for yourself or research further. For the prices of toner refills, start by clicking your manufacturer in the left margin.

Carbon Footprints and Ecodesign of Toner ...

In this 2008 study, Dr. Gell calculates a 52% reduction in carbon footprint by refilling a toner cartridge 3 times and replacing the OPC drum once. In our opinion, the "do-it-yourself" refill case is even more favourable because the following carbon loads included in Dr. Gell's assumptions don't apply:

walruses on ice flow Unless a male wants to mate with you, walruses are inoffensive and live mainly on a diet of shellfish.
Photo: BMJ
  • manufacture of replacement OPC drum
  • transport of replacement OPC drum
  • triple transport of empty cartridge to and from remanufacturing facility
  • energy consumed during remanufacturing at facility

In addition, the footprint of the delivery transport is smaller because the toner powder involved weighs only a fraction of a whole cartridge.
Source: "Carbon Footprints and Ecodesign of Toner Printer Cartridges", Xanfeon Energy & Environmental Services, UK, 2008

Centre For Remanufacturing & Reuse

The authors conclude that, based on their data, a remanufactured mono (i.e. black and white laser printer) cartridge has a "46% lower carbon footprint than a corresponding new cartridge".
Source: "The Carbon Footprint of Remanufactured Versus New Mono-toner Printer Cartridges", Centre For Remanufacturing & Reuse (commissioning body)

arctic hare The arctic hare, a tough customer, neither hibernates nor lives in burrows.
Photo: VisualCommunications

Life Cycle Assessment of Toner ...

The authors state (Abstract page I) that from the point of view of environmental load, "the re-use alternative is full measured two times better". Although they point out that the main environmental load is, in fact, associated with paper.
Source: "Life Cycle Assessment of Toner Cartridge HP C4127X", Berglind & Eriksson, University of Kalmar, Sweden, 2002

Carbon commerce?

The vast majority of people are probably in favour of massive reductions of CO2 emissions. But is everyone prepared to accept restrictions on the life-style they're used to? Who will voluntarily do without electricity? A private car? Imported goods? All these things - and a thousand others that all need a power source - are popular and, let's face it, useful.

So if it's hardly realistic to expect the people of the world to voluntarily curtail their life-style choices, can the battle against carbon be commercialised?

bearded seal watch by eco tourists Commercial exploitation minus the blood. A bearded seal on an ice floe is watched by a zodiac boat full of eco-tourists in Svalbard.
Photo: LauraDyerPhotography

The phrase "carbon footprint" hadn't been coined in 1992 when we started selling our trend-bucking "guerrilla re-cycling" products. Making and transporting just toner cuts the CO2 burden by around a half compared with the manufacture and distribution of the whole kit and caboodle of an original cartridge.

Dr. Gell calculates the CO2 saving to be 52% over three refills. Equivalent to 3.5kg of carbon dioxide for the average toner cartridge. We've argued that the DIY refill approach we've pioneered since 1992 has an even lighter carbon footprint (see above).

We're asking for your support to create a kind of benign chain-reaction effect. Yes, we stand to make money from that, but we believe that the battle to reduce CO2 emissions does have to be commercialised. That's to say, when the capacity of individuals to make voluntary self-sacrifice reaches a limit, what will take up the slack? In the same way that carbon big-foot companies need money to keep doing what they do, so does a carbon twinkle-toes.

whale infront of iceberg Humpback whale in front of an iceberg in the famous ice fjord of Ilulissat, Greenland.
Photo: Anderspa

Re-use, in the sense of directly using a resource again, is more beneficial than re-cycling (normally taken to imply an industrial process such as re-pulping paper fibre or re-forging scrap metal). And our "do-it-yourself" refill concept is pure re-use.

arctic fox Arctic fox in the Canadian Arctic.
Photo: Outdoorsman

Northern hemispher"ism"

Of course, the Antarctic is affected by climate change as well, but the Arctic has more humans in closer proximity and runs the risk of becoming a commercial shipping highway if the ice continues to diminish. So to all you penguins down south, we know how darn cute you are and you're time will come, but we're focussing on the North this time around.

Links. More about ....

Arctic geography and rapid loss of sea ice
The enigmatic and misunderstood walrus
The arctic hare on Wikipedia
Stunning slideshows and videos of the bearded seal, which gets our vote as "cutest thing in the Arctic"
Astonishing natural history of the humpback whale
The arctic fox by the BBC
Options for recycling your Samsung toner cartridge in the UK

One last time for the planet: please use and advocate www.urefilltoner.co.uk if you think our existence is better than our non-existence. Keep refilling in the free world.

Webmasters: please link to this page if you think it's a sincere and worthwhile message to humanity. Thanks.

arctic landscape