Computers are fairly good about not using natural resources and not creating unnecessary waste products. In fact, one of the design features in our original conception of TidBITS was that it would never generate waste paper. By its very nature, it cannot properly exist on paper.
The main culprits in resource waste are printers, especially laser printers. Paper can often be recycled, but until recently the large amount of plastic and metal in toner cartridges could only be saved by having the toner cartridge refilled, which can cause some problems if it is not done correctly. We'll hopefully have more on recharging in a future issue of TidBITS.
Now there is an alternative if you don't want to recharge your toner cartridges and don't have an easy place to sell them to. Hewlett-Packard will pay the postage for you to return the used cartridge to them. All you have to do is pick up a recycling kit from an authorized HP dealer and follow the instructions contained in it. HP will re-use some parts of the cartridges in making new ones and others parts, such as the aluminum drum, will be melted down and recycled as raw materials.
The project will run on a test basis from June 1st to December 31st, 1990 in 11 Western US states (including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), Germany, and Switzerland. HP hopes to expand the program to the rest of the US and Canada and more European countries in 1991. As an added incentive, for each cartridge returned, HP will donate 50 cents each to the National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy.
HP Technical Support told us that they would take any toner cartridge that can be used in an HP LaserJet printer, which includes cartridges that are used in LaserWriters. You would have to get a recycling kit from an authorized HP dealer though, but if you buy HP cartridges, a kit will come with new cartridges. HP should be commended highly for instituting this program, although in all fairness we must say that they are saving a bit of money on toner parts by paying only several dollars for postage for a used toner cartridge. Capitalistic quibbles aside, the program is very well-intentioned and we hope it succeeds.
Hewlett-Packard -- 800/752-0900
John at HP Technical Support -- 800/752-0900 #3
MacWEEK -- 12-Jun-90, Vol. 4 #22, pg. 14