“Sugar!” I whimpered to myself.

In truth, I used some other digestively related S word but I understand that some under-ages occasionally read this blog.

Anyway, pondering the black streaks on my printed page and skimming through the printer’s pdf manual, I discover that it’s the cartridges.

They’re running low on ink.

A quick internet price check reveals that buying new cartridges for my 4-year-old colour laser printer is the same price of a new multifunction laser. (Yes, that’s scanning, faxing, copying and printing together with a 12 month warranty.)

A cliché-ridden soul would say it was a “no brainer” to get the new one.

I had mixed emotions though. Yes, I happily thought, I could get a new printer … “value for money” as Margaret Thatcher used to say … but that green man in my heart wept.

I have a Samsung multifunction printer at home. I also have 2 HPs (a colour laser and an inkjet) plus a Brother (a mono laser) in the office, each one having succeeded the other in a Darwinian technological economic reality.

For me, that’s 4 printers in total and none of them older than 8 years!

The 5th printer will be arriving in a matter of days.

I know for a fact, that replacing cartridges for any of those machines is more expensive than buying a new, updated, whizz-bang one.

Welcome to the age of disposable printers!

Buy cartridges at $40.95 or a new $49 printer?
Buy cartridges at $40.95 or a new $49 printer?

This problem has been with us for perhaps a decade or so. Yes, it’s a huge concern. Perhaps not for me personally, but for the environment.

Which landfill will my old printers go into? What chemicals will it be leaching into the soil?

I’m only a one-person operation. Imagine what happens in a corporation of thousands of employees. Imagine all those machines junked in a landfill the size of several soccer fields.

Oh, don’t worry, says Mr. Big Printer Maker. It’s your children’s and grandchildren’s problem. You just go ahead and enjoy your new printer.

So why is Mr BPM creating disposable printers?

To generate greater revenue, of course. Think of all those gigantic directors bonuses!

Governments can make a difference here.

The retail price of cartridges should be controlled. We know they’re way overpriced. They’re priced that way to change our behaviour. They want us to buy new printers.

If it made economic sense, I would leap in delight and just replaced those cartridges rather than to have bought a new printer. I don’t want to see my faithful old one upended in some landfill. I know it’s a terrible ugly waste.

But Mr BPM doesn’t care. He’s an environmental vandal. And he’s turning me into one.

In a couple of years, I’ll need to replace the cartridges for my new printer. I’ll check the price and …

weep.

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