Printer of discontent
With regard to the issue of waste (Letters, Shopper 355), the planned obsolescence of the printer itself – designing a component such as the ink absorption pad to fail after a given time – is not the only way in which printer manufacturers act in a manner detrimental to the environment.
Some years ago I had an Epson Photo Stylus R200, a six-cartridge printer that produced beautiful quality prints. However, it was quite hungry on the ink front. I noticed a few months later that the printer was being sold for £70, which was a decent price for the quality of output. All printer manufacturers give dire warnings about the alleged hazards of using third-party cartridges, which became immediately relevant when I noticed that to purchase a full set of genuine Epson cartridges cost £72. So for £2 less than the cost of six cartridges I could have bought a brand new printer – with new printer heads, a warranty and cartridges, although admittedly the ones in new printers are never full. I’m reminded of the time a few years ago when, by weight, printer ink was more valuable than gold, a ridiculous state of affairs. Needless to say I use third-party cartridges, so the printer manufacturers lose out by selling a cheap printer but never getting to sell me their exorbitant ink. So that’s another way they are adding to landfill: by people dumping printers instead of buying new cartridges. Add in the fact that modern chipped cartridges are never empty, so you never get to fully use the product you have (over)paid good money for, and you’re adding mountains of cartridges with ink, which at one point was mildly toxic; I don’t know if it still is.
Am I old-fashioned to long for the time when I could buy a Hewlett Packard 500C for £300, but get 10 cartridges for it?