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Printing can be hazardous to the environment.  From the energy your printer uses to the paper and ink your message is printed on, the printing choices you make can have a strong effect on the world around you.  Luckily, printing green isn’t difficult or expensive.  Here are a few ways you can make sure you make environmentally friendly choices when printing—without breaking the bank.

Use recycled paper.  The papermaking industry uses a lot of resources—including trees, water, and energy.  It’s estimated that it takes approximately three tons of wood, over 2,000 pounds of solid waste, and almost 20,000 gallons of water to make a single ton of paper. In addition, the bleaching process used to get paper white can release damaging chemicals into waterways and the atmosphere.  Any way you look at it, the more paper you use the worse it will be for the environment.

But you can make a difference by using recycled paper. It typically doesn’t cost significantly more than virgin paper, and it both reduces the demand for and uses less resources than production of new paper.

Print less.  This is probably the easiest and most obvious way to go green—and the best for your budget. Avoid printing as much as possible.  Keep your documents backed up on USB drives and discs instead of printing out paper copies.  Send emails instead of mailing letters.  When you do print, make sure you print on both sides of a sheet of paper so you can reduce the amount of paper you use overall.

Look into soy-based inks.  Paper in landfills may not be ideal, but at least it’s biodegradable, right?  It might be—but the ink printed on it isn’t.  Most regular printer inks are petroleum-based.  Petroleum-based inks release VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the air—not just in landfills, but in your home.  These contribute to both global warming and indoor air pollution.  In addition, some colours—often reds and metallics—contain heavy metals such as zinc, copper, and barium.  In landfills, these pollutants leach into the environment and cause damage.

Soy-based inks use natural pigments and mediums, and are generally much less harmful to the environment.  Not all of them are completely free from pollutants, however; look for inks that contain less than 2% petroleum.

Investigate the company’s energy use and green policies.  Whenever possible, investigate the green policies of companies you buy printers and ink from.  Do they take steps to reduce their carbon footprint? Do they have a recycling plan? Do they commit to using energy-efficient machinery and production methods? Many companies do lip service to the environmental movement, but don’t follow through on larger commitments. Most big printer manufacturers have a cartridge recycling program, for example—but some simply ship their used cartridges to third-world contractors who dispose of them in landfills.

Recycle.  Don’t throw any of your electronics, ink and toner cartridges, or paper into the garbage. Recycle them instead.  It’s relatively easy to recycle paper—most municipal recycling programs can take it—but it’s more difficult to recycle cartridges.  Your best bet is often to use a nonprofit program that specializes in handling ink and toner cartridges.  Some charge, but many don’t—and some will even arrange to pick up or pay for postage on your cartridges.  In addition, some third-party cartridge companies sell remanufactured cartridges—and will pay you for your used ink and toner cartridges.

Use a green printer.  If you use a printing company for high-volume work, be warned: printing companies can be highly toxic to the environment. Printers use solvents, drying agents, shellacs, and other chemical solutions to create film and printing plates as well as to clean printing presses.  These get released into the air and into waterways, and many have toxic effects on people who are exposed to them.  Look for a printer committed to green operations—one that avoids the use of packaging and foils that can make paper products impossible to recycle; relies on soy-based organic inks; and follows green energy use and printing practices.

Buy recycled cartridges.  Third party cartridge resellers recycle old original ink and toner cartridges and fill them with their own ink.  Buy from them instead of buying new cartridges from your manufacturer, and you could save significant amounts on cartridge costs—as well as reducing demand for new cartridges and keeping old ones out of landfills.

Green printing is good for the environment, as well as your budget.  Commit to recycling, look for energy-efficient printers, and use recycled materials whenever possible.  Buy recycled paper and cartridges, and support green printers and manufacturing companies—and you’ll be doing your part to make a difference.

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Interested in buying ink from a third-party provider? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people buy cartridges and ink from third-party online vendors, and for the most part, the ink is high quality and safe to use. However, there are several types of cartridges sold by third-party vendors, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. Here’s an overview of the types of cartridges sold by third-party providers.

Original manufacturer’s cartridges. These are cartridges that come directly from the manufacturer. They are often covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, even if you buy them from a third party. Third-party sellers buy the ink in bulk and are sometimes able to secure a discount for customers, but this is typically the most expensive ink you can buy online. Still, it can be less expensive than the same ink you’d find at a brick-and-mortar store, and if something goes wrong with the cartridge in your printer, your warranty should cover a replacement in most cases.

Compatible cartridges. Third-party compatible or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)-compatible cartridges are made by a third party company using the original manufacturer’s specifications. Many third-party manufacturers reverse-engineer the cartridges and ink from major manufacturers, taking original cartridges apart and analyzing ink to discover how it’s made. This process can lead to ink, toner and cartridges that are virtually indistinguishable from the original product.

Compatible products typically have a better performance record than remanufactured, because compatible cartridges are made new and not recycled. They can cost 30% to 50% less than the original brand. Some original manufacturers have leveled suits against third-party companies to stop them from selling ink and cartridges that are too similar to their own products, however, which is why compatible cartridges are not widely available for all brands.

Remanufactured cartridges. With remanufactured or refilled cartridges, a third-party company collects used cartridges, replaces damaged or worn components, and refills the cartridges with third-party ink. Cartridge-recycling companies are typically considered the most environmentally friendly of the third-party options, as they keep used ink cartridges out of landfills. They are also as much as 50% cheaper than original cartridges.

It’s rare for remanufactured ink cartridges to damage print heads, despite what manufacturers will tell you. However, remanufactured cartridges do have a slightly higher failure rate than compatible since the cartridges themselves are used. When buying these cartridges online, look for a 100% satisfaction guarantee and only buy from companies that test their cartridges rigorously before selling them.

Home refill kits. Home refill kits are typically the cheapest option out there for discount ink, but many consumers are reluctant to try refilling their cartridges themselves. These kits have a reputation of being messy, hard to use and prone to failure, but today’s home refill kits have evolved considerably since they were first introduced to the market. Today, you can buy a home refill kit with tools and ink tailored to your specific brand, making the refill process much easier.

If you order a home refill kit, you’ll receive one or more bottles of ink, syringes or needles, and a cartridge holder. Refill kits for some brands include additional tools as well. The process can be time-consuming—it can take up to fifteen minutes to refill a cartridge if you’re doing it for the first time; less if you have experience. But if you’re willing to learn, you can save significant money over original and even third party cartridges.

As for reliability, refill kits generally don’t cause damage to your printer unless you don’t follow the directions properly or if you wait too long to refill your cartridge. If you let your cartridge go completely dry before refilling it, dried ink residue could clog the outlets and damage the cartridge. Refilling a cartridge too often could also cause damage due to worn-out cartridge components.

Still, most refilled, remanufactured and third-party compatible cartridges are safe to use and much cheaper than original cartridges—and millions of businesses and home printer users buy them every day. Choose a reputable vendor with a strong guarantee and a rigorous testing process, and you’re sure to find a dependable source for discount printer cartridges.

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HP 337 Remanufactured JetTec Ink Cartridges Now Available

May 9, 2008

Jettec the award winning UK based manufacturer of ink cartridges have introduced the latest ink cartridge to be added to their product range the remanufactured HP 337 ink cartridge that prints 50% more pages than the original HP 337 ink cartridge manufacturers part no C9364EE. The quality of Jet Tec products is second to none Jettec ink [...]

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Lexmark 31 Remanufactured Photo Ink Cartridges Are Now Available

May 3, 2008

Jettec the award winning UK based manufacturer of ink cartridges have introduced the latest high quality remanufactured ink cartridge to be added to their product range the Lexmark 31 Photo ink cartridge manufacturers part no 18C0031E. The quality of Jet Tec products is second to none Jettec ink cartridges are not simply just refilled but [...]

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