Printer of dis­con­tent

Computer Shopper - - LETTERS -

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?

Ju­lian Hall

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