If you own a printer, you will have to keep buying a new supply of ink in order for it to work and when you do, that ink will probably be provided in a disposable ink cartridge. Although this is very convenient and easy to use, it does mean that you have to pay for a new cartridge every time you want to buy some more ink. Surprisingly though it isn’t the cost of the ink that has reached governments ears but the fact that so many cartridges are being disposed of. Environmentalists have claimed that 500 million laser jet ink cartridges added to an already 1.8 billion regular ink cartridges which were placed in landfills prior to 2011 and since then a total of 350 million ink cartridges have been added to that number each year since. Since many governments are now starting to be concerned about the sizes of their landfills, some European governments and the US government are now considering introducing legislation to reduce this potential problem. It has been suggested that a law banning the use of disposable ink cartridges would be effective as, if the ink was provided in refillable cartridges, the cost of the ink would be reduced and at the same time reduce the number of cartridges which are being disposed of. It is perhaps fortunate that today at least the manufacturers combine copiers and scanners into printers as otherwise there may have been three times the number of disposable cartridges placed in landfills and as each one can take between 350 and 1000 years to decompose, present a potential problem.
One of the most popular brands of printer is the HP and so many people purchase HP ink cartridges and these, as well as others, will be affected if the legislation is passed. This change in types of cartridges which are used should not create too much of a problem for manufacturers especially as, if it is passed, it will probably be applicable to new printers and cartridges being made. The area which will probably be most affected is with the laser jet printers. The laser jet printers need ink cartridges just like other printers do but in their case; a drum is sometimes also included in the cartridge. The drum is something that laser printers use to transfer the ink from the ink cartridge to the paper and if they are not replaced regularly, they will produce erratic printing. To ensure that users replace the drums regularly, some of the manufacturers had included the drum as part of the disposable ink cartridge but now, as the cartridges may be refillable, a drum will need to be provided and bought separately from the ink. Although this may be an added extra bit of inconvenience for laser jet users, they should be placated by the savings they will make or at least should make, in buying more ink. This seems a win/win situation as the environmentalists will have less cartridges going into landfills and printer users should receive cheaper ink supplies.