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Refillable Printers as an Eco-Friendly Solution

Dominique Schroller

Published on 12.03.2020

Printers with a tank render frequent cartridge change and cumbersome disposal superfluous.

Printer cartridges are expensive, cumbersome to insert, used up in no time and have a poor eco footprint. Furthermore, storing cartridges as well as exchanging them on frequently used equipment is costly for companies. Refillable printers are a low-cost and more eco-friendly alternative.  

“Refuelling” a printer like a car initially sounds a little unsustainable – but it is. The tank is integrated into the device and is easy to refill. The ink jet version has clear advantages over laser printers as such: the power consumption is lower, as is the fine dust pollution. Those in need of high-quality print outs cannot avoid ink anyway.  

Ink tanks render a clearly higher yield than cartridges. By comparison: a conventional single-use cartridge holds about 10 millilitres on average. Depending on the style and design, ink tanks, by contrast, hold up to 140 millilitres of ink thereby saving about 14 cartridge changes. The ink is supplied in refill bottles and can be topped up right into the printer. The empty container can later be disposed of in the recycling bin.

The first printers were introduced to the German market by Epson and Canon, HP followed suit. Epson calls this technology “EcoTank”. The average page price stands at about 1 EUR per 400 pages here. This seems to go down well with customers because 40 million printers have been sold already. Whether the purchase pays off depends on the printer’s frequency of use. To this end Epson offers a calculator on its website.