Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Green Ink

The green technology that I found on deals with Xerox ink cartridges. The article was published on May 14, 2009 by Ted Samson. Here’s the link:

Most organizations such as governments, businesses, educational institutions, and households employ printers and similar machines for multiply reasons, ranging from the materialization of information to the embossment of memories. Without the ink printing is not possible. Although the methods of printing have changed since Gutenberg’s printing press, ink is the essential component. For modern printers, what happens when the ink runs out? It’s time to replace the ink cartridge. Before the new cartridge can be bought and installed in the printer, it goes through an arduous packaging process. By packaging I do not mean a nice shiny, colorful box. Simply, the ink is entombed in a plastic shell and includes devices to feed the ink through the printer onto the piece of paper. There is no doubt that these processes of manufacturing, distribution, and implementation of ink cartridges for the purpose of printing, use great amounts of materials and energy. This does not include the grave impact on the environment upon disposal of empty ink cartridges. Although it is viable to recycle the depleted cartridges, most are thrown away in the garbage, destined to reside in a landfill for 1000+ years.

To combat the cartridge problem, Xerox has introduced the ColorQube 9200 series of A3-size MFPs (Multi-Function Printers) which use solid ink sticks. “The ink comes in the form of small sticks, resembling fat pieces of chalk. You pop the sticks into the printer, and they're melted into the printhead, which jets the ink onto the print drum. Paper is passed between a roller and the print drum under pressure, and the image is transferred to the paper.” There is no cartridge to hold the ink. This saves a lot of resources from being used. “Printing 1 million pages on a laser printer would require the manufacturing of 965 pounds of various materials, including cartridges, fusers, and drums. Printing 1 million pages with ink sticks would require 272 pounds of materials.” That not only reduces the harm cause to the environment by the cartridges production, it reduces costs. The savings are then passed on to the buyer. For laser printers, it costs 8 cents to print a page with any color on it, even if the only color is from the logo. For the solid ink printer, it costs only 3 cents per page with an intermediate amount of color. One may say it’s only 5 cents, but it adds up. If one printed 1 million pages, it totals to a savings of $50,000. In this economy, it’s definitely worth the investment. Also, when the ink is used up, there is no cartridge to throw out. That means no added harm to the environment, and no guilt for not recycling.

Personally, I do not see any flaws to this product. It’s cheaper to print items. It’s more efficient, and it’s a environmentally healthy alternative to laser printer ink cartridges. However, there’s some hesitation. The article did not address the speed or quality. Xerox does offer a sample to those interested in the product.

No comments:

Post a Comment