Eco-Friendly

Save on Ink and Toner with These 5 Simple Tricks

It’s about the most expensive liquid on the planet. Gold, oil, and even human blood cost less by volume than printer ink, so here’s how to squeeze every drop out of each cartridge.

In a 2007 study commissioned by Epson and undertaken by research company TUV Rheinland, it was found that many models of printers could still have as much as 60% ink volume remaining when the printer tells you to replace the cartridge! Epson commissioned the study to back up their claim that multi-ink tank model printers (which mainly only use individual color tanks for each primary color and black, some models taking up to 9 different ink tanks) are more efficient when it comes to wasted ink. In general, they are correct, as a printer with individual tanks typically will usually only prompt to replace the cartridge when it is actually close to empty, and it won’t prompt you that it’s empty if only one of the colors (as in the case of tri-color cartridges) is empty, even if the other 2 colors still have ink remaining.

HOWEVER (I made this big because it’s a HUGE caveat), they did not factor in the automatic cleaning cycles nor the dreaded priming cycle in the case of Epson inks specifically. These 2 automatic and unavoidable processes are done automatically at seemingly random times. There is surely an algorithm for when the printer should perform these things, as in the case of the priming cycle, this is always done immediately after a new ink tank is installed. This is the reason your Epson (or some Canon and HP models) will tell you you’re only empty of one color, and then when you put a new one in, it frustratingly tells you it’s empty of another color.

So what does one do?! We have a few tips that may help you wring out every precious wisp of essential paper-juice from those cartridges.

Tip 1: Spend less money on your ink and toner

“Well Chris, that was stupendously obvious, you think I didn’t already know that?!” Sometimes I wonder… Given how often I hear friends, family, and customers who tell me about their recent hassle-filled trip to Staples or even Wal-Mart where they spent 20%-60% more than they would have paid for equivalent quality ink or toner from us! Then I usually find out they still think the remanufacturing industry is still guys in a dank basement or garage injecting ink into barely usable cartridges.

Nobody selling similar remanufactured inks or toners still does this, the self-refill kit was an early-90’s phenomenon that doesn’t cut it still today. Today, in most cases, inks are re-chipped or reprogrammed in order to work and provide advanced ink level monitoring, and toners are rebuilt entirely with new or refurbished components which renew them back up to OEM standards. This means there is virtually no difference on most of our products how they will function when compared directly to the brand name OEM products, but with the goal of reuse and recycling EVERYTHING rather than building brand new cartridges with new materials. You can see how much you can save easily by checking our online web store here.

Tip 2: Buy high-capacity (XL) sized inks and toners

This may be more costly up front, which always hurts, but when you compare page yields, and calculate the actual cost-per-page, you’ll notice instantly that the high-capacity (or high-yield) cartridges are a better deal. As we touched on before, don’t even bother with the “Economy” sized inks, they are cheaper up front, but give you practically nothing for your money compared to high-yield cartridges.

Follow this formula: (Price of Ink cartridge) ÷ (Estimated page yield) = Your cost-per-page

HP #74 Black: Our price – $13.99 ÷ 200 pages = ~.07 per page
HP #74XL Black (High yield): Our price – $29.99 ÷ 750 pages = ~.04 per page

Clearly the high yield has a huge advantage of being almost half price of the standard yield when looking at the cost-per-page.

When we start to compare black ink as compared to a laser printer that takes black toner we see a larger difference (Tip: laser printers usually have much lower cost-per-page, particularly monochrome/B&W)

HP #74XL Black (High yield): Our price – $29.99 ÷ 750 pages = ~.04 per page
Brother TN-450 (High yield toner): Our price – $39.99 ÷ 2,600 pages = ~.01 1/2 per page

Give it a try yourself! Find your ink or toner here and then use this handy calculator to check how many pages you can expect.

Tip 3: Use a different font for documents you print

Surprisingly, this is an amazingly effective ink-saving choice. With the proper font, you could use as much as 40% less ink on the things you print!

In 2014, a student named Suvir Mirchandani began a science project that turned into a consulting gig for the US government and a published paper in a research journal.  He essentially studied four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. The clear winner was Garamond, saving as much as 24% ink compared to the others.

Another study of note is the University of Wisconsin program which switched its default font from Arial to Century Gothic (a nice little font if I may say so as a typeset nerd/fontophile myself) and it saved them an estimated 30% in ink and toner coverage.

Ecofont (Image Courtesy: Nat Geo Mag Blog Central)

We’ve also discovered a font that is geared toward only one thing: saving ink. It is very readable and uses a unique way of leaving voids in unneeded areas of each letter while still appearing to be a full letter. This font is called Ecofont, and you can discover how it works here. It’s pretty cool.

Tip 4: Avoid unnecessary cleaning cycles

Sometimes it’s unavoidable when the printer decides to do it on its own, but you don’t always need to run that print head cleaning cycle if your prints are looking funky, streaky, or “gappy” (those are all technical terms, wink, wink).

If your printer takes just 2 cartridges (a black and a tri-color), then you have print head-integrated cartridges, which means, as opposed to ink tanks, the print head is an integrated part of the ink cartridge. This makes the automated print head cleaning just an unnecessary waste of ink. Follow this video to see how to manually clean your print head on this type of cartridge:

HP_564XL_ink_jet_cartridges
A set of ink tank cartridges

If you have a printer with a fixed print head that uses ink tanks (see photo to right for examples), in most cases the automatic print head cleaning cycles built into the printer are the only

option to clear up poor print quality. But as ol’ Bennie Franklin liked to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To this end, we recommend printing something out on a bi-weekly to monthly basis.

Sounds simple, but why will that help? The #1 cause for poor print quality on an inkjet printer is due to dried ink clogging up the thousands of microscopic print head nozzles that dispense the ink. Keeping them in use before they have a chance to dry up is an easy way to keep this from happening. YES, printing something simple like Google’s home page will use up some ink, but it uses a smaller amount of ink than a full cleaning cycle, which (almost counter-intuitively) saves you ink in the long run.

Tip 5: Use “draft” or “Eco” mode for text printing (or if you don’t need high-quality images)

While every printer has a different configuration, and some do not have “Draft” or and Eco-mode (sometimes called ink-saver or toner-save mode), choosing this as your default print mode will definitely conserve more ink or toner. These steps should work on most printers to enable this mode on your Windows computer:

  1. In Windows, click on the Start button (Or press the Windows Key on your keyboard) and choose Control Panel.
  2. Choose Printers and Other Hardware from the menu that opens.
  3. Choose View Installed Printers or Fax Printers.
  4. On the window that opens, look for your printer’s name. Right click on the printer’s icon and choose Printing Preferences, sometimes Printer Properties.
  5. On the Print Quality tab, choose Draft or Fast (varies depending on the printer).
  6. If you want to conserve your color ink, choose Grayscale Printing on the same tab (just remember you’ll have to uncheck that box if you want to print something in color).
  7. Press OK. That’s it; now your printer will automatically print in Draft Mode (and in grayscale, if you chose that option) until you change it back. To change it, simply follow the same instructions and choose Standard for print quality.

We are extremely happy you’ve read up on our most coveted, super-secret tips for maximizing the life of your cartridges. Now that you know how to easily get the most out of your inks and toners, I can’t believe you’re not already looking to save even more money on the inks and toners you need! To help you out there, you can click the button below to start saving money buy buying high-quality eco-friendly supplies from us!

Buy high quality inkjet cartridges

If you have your own tried and true method of saving ink or maximizing the life of this very expensive commodity, we’d love to hear them for future revisions, leave a reply below!

Landfills and the K-cup, A Disaster in the Making

Keurig K-cup, Coffee, Recycle, Biodegradable, So let’s see if I got this right. In the far distant past if one wanted to have a fresh brewed cup of coffee he would go to the pantry, pull out a bag of ground coffee and measure out the correct amount of grounds for the number of cups he wants.

Put a filter into the basket and into that pours his grounds. Then measures and pours the correct amount of water into his coffee maker and turns it on. 10 min later he gets his coffee.

Now all of this takes maybe 5 minutes, 10 if you’re slow like me. While the coffee is brewing you do other things to get ready for work or whatever it is you do in the morning.

I don’t see this as a huge hassle and besides that wonderful coffee smell is half the experience. Well it seems a guy by the name of John Sylvan who invented the K-cup back in 1992 thought this routine was just too tedious. His goal was to create “a better, more customizable and liberating caffeine experience than the tepid office percolator”. I still don’t understand what that means but that was his reason for inventing the K-cup. Like the old saying goes, seemed like a good idea at the time.

Fast forward to 2016 and we find ourselves under a virtual mountain of these damn cups. Come to find out there not even biodegradable, now that’s just plain irresponsible in this day and age, even back in 2006 when these things really took off it was extremely short sighted on the part of the manufacture.

“But their popularity has created an even bigger problem: a mountain of used, non-recyclable plastic cups ending up in landfills. According to Halifax, Nova Scotia-based filmmaker Mike Hachey, who has made K-Cups the target of his crusade, there could be as many as 60 billion of them in landfills. Hachey started a website Kill the K Cup to track the activities of Keurig Green Mountain and, to raise awareness, he’s made an over-the-top horror video in which a monster made of K-Cups attacks helpless young urbanites. “Kill the K-Cup before it kills our planet,” the film proclaims.”  – EcoWatch.com, “Kill the K-cup Before It Kills Our Planet”

Now here’s the dig, other companies do make biodegradable compostable pods, but the Keurig 2.0 has a digital rights management system that rejects pods made by rival companies.

This sounds eerily like the aftermarket ink and toner industry which I’m a part of. They installed a similar system in their printers that can detect if the cartridge is a aftermarket thus rendering it unusable. This takes away a choice that the consumer has a right to, mainly once they buy a piece of equipment they should have the right to use any aftermarket product they want.

But that story is for another article. The point is the Keurig K-cup is currently only about 5 percent recyclable; the rest is made from No. 7 plastic which can’t be recycled. As of 2013 it was reported that Keurig Green Mountain Coffee produced enough coffee pods to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. Keurig did say they are working on the problem and are committed to fixing it by 2020 which as of 2015 gives them time to produce enough cups to circle the Earth 52 more times. Does it really take that much time to solve this man made disaster?

I just can’t for the life me understand how a business in good conscience can willing produce a product that can’t be recycled, and then admits there is a problem but it will take them at least 5 years to fix it. Looks to me like profit trumps common sense again. I must admit though in their defense at the time of this writhing they are really trying to solve this problem. If you visit their web site  it states that they are now using a plastic called #5 Polypropylene plastic which is much more recyclable than the old material they were using.

The best solution at this point is to ensure what you are buying is made from the new #5 Polypropylene material, if its not don’t buy it. This will send a message to Keurig that the consumer insist on bio gradable products. Make sure that your community’s waste recycling center can process this type of plastic.  If after looking into this new material you are still not comfortable with using these K-cups how about just going back to making coffee using a good old drip coffee maker!

What are your thoughts on this? Do you own a Keurig machine? Did you know the problem these cups are causing to our already strained eco –system? Would you stop using this machine as a sign of protest until Keurig came out with a bio-degradable version?

Want an easy way to help the planet? Buy remanufactured printer supplies!

CTA-INK-TONER-Shopping-ButtonOnly

 

Worlds First Plastic Fishing Company!

Cleaning up our waterways, Recycling Plastic bottles
Courtesy of Plastic Whale Project in Amsterdam

Fishing for Plastic, who the heck would want to fish for plastic? A group of people based out of Amsterdam have come up with what I consider one of the best darn ideas I have seen in a long time. It’s so simple you wonder why no one has thought of this before. There name: Plastic Whale, get it? Like hunting whales but they are hunting for plastic, genius.

OK, so here’s the business model, first the company fishes out plastic bottles and other plastic debris from the city’s numerous canals using simple nets and their hands, what ever works. Second, when enough of this trash is collected the plastic is transformed into material to make a boat. Holy Christmas what a great idea, but that’s not where it stops. Third, and this is the genius, the new boat is used to fish for more plastic bottles & trash that in turn will build more boats!

If this catches on it could turn into a monster of a business. Imagine if other countries started doing this and the boats got big enough to go out to sea.

Their goal, to rid the world’s waters of plastic pollution. It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic trash is entering our waterways annually. My question is with all of the awareness out their of the harm plastic does to our environment who the hell is indiscriminately throwing plastic trash of any kind into our waterways?

The founder and captain Marius Smit is up to the task and states that he not only envisions a world of plastic-free waters but also a world where people understand that everyday trash, such as plastic bottles can be transformed into “a valuable raw material”.

This statement resonates with the efforts of Keller Slater who is taking the same concept but instead of turning plastic bottles into boats he is retriving discarded fishing nets and turning them into clothing. This same clothing can then be recycled and turned into clothing again. Hell it seems like these pioneers are on to something.

Since 2010 Plastic Whale has fished out more than 50,000 plastic bottles and over 10,000 kilos of various waste from the canals of Amsterdam according to Smit.

They have seven boats so far all made from recovered plastic and even give businesses and individuals plastic fishing tours, how cool is that.

Smit does not stop there, Plastic Whale takes the bottle caps and create beautiful mosaics on the floors of the boats. He started another company WasteBoards which makes unique skateboards from bottle caps.

His take on plastic and what he wants everyone to learn is plastic should not be regarded as valueless waste, but as valuable raw material. “The root of the problem, as we see it, is that people regard plastic as a disposable. We try to change people’s perceptions” Smit states.

All this indiscriminate discarding of plastic into waterways has caused a global problem in our oceans called “Plastic Soup” which is poisoning our sea life. It must stop and I believe Smit is on to something.

Knowing and understanding the problem is the first step. Be aware of what you are doing with your plastic when your done. Find out where to get it recycled responsibly. Support efforts like Marius Smit and maybe you could even start something in your state or country.

Bottom line, be part of the solution, not the problem. Whatever you do don’t throw any plastic into any water way thinking one bottle or one plastic bag won’t make much of a difference, it does.

We would love to hear from you and any ideas you have to stem the flow of plastics into our oceans or maybe you have seen or heard of someone else helping to solve this issue in a new way that you could share with the rest of us.

 

 

 

Where Does All of Our Electronic Waste Go?

We use our smart phones, our laptops, smart watches and all of the other tech gear out there and then when it fails or we just want to upgrade what do we do with the old equipment? Well if we are honest about it, most of us will put it in a closet or drawer and forget about it. Then at some point we rediscover these items and decide to just throw them out in the trash.

But some of us do the right thing and bring it to a recycling center. Have you ever wondered where a lot of this E-waste ends up?

Bit Rot said “About 80 percent of the e-waste produced in developed countries (North America and Europe are on the top of the list) is not disposed of in these countries, but shipped, most of the time illegally, to developing countries on cargo ships, where it is illegally disposed of.”

 

As our insatiable appetite for better & faster electronic gadgets grows the mountains of toxic trash continues to increase poisoning people and planet alike. The trash is not just old Blackberry’s and MacBooks, but includes old refrigerators, televisions, toys and more. Think of it in terms of if its electronic it’s sure to become outdated and thrown out to be replaced with newer, faster & better stuff.

 

Most of this e-waste is finding it’s way to countries like India, China and some African regions. “It is hazardous waste, containing dozens of substances dangerous to human health and the environment; it is hard to be sustainable disposed of and it needs a costly processing technique to make it recyclable” says Bit Rot.

 

Some illegal electronic waste does occur in the U.S.  but the appeal of sending e-waste overseas as always comes down to cost and fewer regulations. It seems we never learn and are always taking mother nature for granted. There was a time in the U.S. that businesses would just dump all of their waste into the nearest stream or river. In many cases the pollution was so bad we are still feeling the effects to this day. This has all but stopped but we are faced with basically the same scenario but instead of dumping pollutants into our own rivers we dump our e-waste into someone else backyard.

 

According to a 2013 United Nations report China is “grappling with the reality of an estimated 20 percent annual rise in domestically generated e-waste combined with a role as one of the planet’s primary dumping grounds for global e-waste—a massive environmental, social and economic burden.”

There’s a town in China called Guiyu that has become a major e-wastebasket. Workers burn or process tech gear with hydrochloric acid to recover valuable metals like copper and steel. In the process, it releases toxic heavy metals like lead, beryllium and cadmium into the environment. This has released hydrocarbon ashes into the air, water and soil thus polluting them in China.

Just about all of the salvaged junk ends up back in our homes according to one e-waste worker that CNN spoke to. The plastic gets sold to Foxconn, a Taiwanese company that manufactures products for many global electronics companies such as Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

“The commercialization process and the capitalistic valorization created a true ‘waste economy,’” Bit Rot observed. “This extends the logic behind profit and exploitation even to those scraps that it had produced, creating a never ending cycle that profits from its own death.”

This has become a worldwide problem that is going to take everyone’s participation to solve. The UN’s Step Initiative is tackling the world’s behemoth e-waste crisis. EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia told U.S. News: “serious concerns about unsafe handling of used electronics, especially discarded electronics or e-waste, both domestically and overseas, that results in harm to human health and the environment”.

Here at home you can learn how to responsibly dispose of your tech gear by reading EcoWatch “Are You Making These 7 Common Recycling Mistakes” . You can also find out if there is a e-cycling center near you by following the link.

If we all do our part I believe we can make a difference.

One way to help stem the flow of e-waste is to buy remanufactured ink and toner cartridges for your printers. This industry recycles and remanufactures empty ink and toner cartridges thereby extending the life of these products. When you buy remanufactured products of any kind you are effectively keeping these recyclable products from ending up in the e-waste dumps of the world.

Before running out and buying the latest and greatest new tech gear is it possible to just upgrade what you have? Many times you can get the same results you are looking for by upgrading saving you hundreds of dollars and again helping to stem the flow of e-waste into our environment.

Now it’s your turn, what’s your idea on how we can all help with this global problem?

 

 

Biodegradable Plastics, Really Biodegradable?

So what’s the real scoop on this fantastic new product called Biodegradable Plastics that the manufactures are talking about? Is it really biodegradable? Does it really break down into harmless particles? Is it really the answer to the huge global problem that plastics have become to our environment?

When I first heard about this I thought to myself, wow finally someone comes up with a plastic like material that will break down in the environment. What a wonderful idea. Not so fast. Just with a little digging I find out this stuff does not break down as advertised and in some cases is even worse than the original plastic.

Conventional plastic takes a long time to break down. The problem is it never really breaks down and just melts away into nothing. It actually just keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces into what is called microplastics and ends up in every nook and cranny of our eco-system including us after we eat fish that have ingested it. 

A report released by the United Nations looked into these so-called biodegradable plastics and it ends up the reality does not match the hype. When you read the fine print you find out that these plastics require long-term exposure to high temperatures around 122F, like those found in large municipal composters to actually break down. Problem here is there seems to be only about 100 facilities nationwide that will accept these “biodegradable” plastics according to a report by Mother Earth News.

So manufactures are making a product that they claim is biodegradable that is not. The BS just never seems to end. Think about it, if most of our municipal waste treatment plants will not accept this material for composting what the hell is this stuff?

The bigger question becomes where will it end up if not at the recycling centers? They will either end up in landfills that do not have high temperatures of 122 degrees or higher or in our oceans. To add insult to injury once these plastics are in our oceans the water actually reduces UV and oxygen exposure so they degrade even slower than they would on land.

No matter what the label states these so called biodegradable plastics will be around us for a very long time.

When all is said and done these so called Biodegradable Plastics are actually less recyclable than regular plastics and they can contaminate the feed of recycling plants. According to Peter Kershaw, one of the authors of the UNEP study: “If you’re recycling plastics you don’t want to have anything to do with biodegradable plastics because if you mix biodegradable with standard plastics you can compromise the properties of the original plastic.”

It seems this is just another example of some industries “greenwashing” a product so it sells. Unless they can make a biodegradable plastic that actually degrades under regular conditions and fairly rapidly without causing problems in standard recycling plants I’m guessing this product is not the answer to our plastic problem. In my opinion they should just be taken off the market because they are creating a whole new set of problems.

Why would any industry go through the time and cost of creating a product that will only add to the problem of global waste at a time when we are trying to reduce harmful products from our environment? Of course the simple answer is to make money but at what expense to our habitat and living conditions. 

I’ts nice to make money but at what expense. In the end these plastics will affect everyone including the CEO’s of these company’s. That means their family members will be eating fish that ingested plastic and the beaches they go to will eventually have plastic trash on them. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend the time and energy in inventing a real biodegradable plastic? Who ever comes up with this will corner the market and make a gazillion dollars.

Could you be the one that comes up with that idea??

 

10 Things You Can Do To Reduce Plastics In Your Life

I recently wrote an article about how pro surfer Kelly Slater is doing some fantastic work helping to clean up our oceans by recycling millions of tons of discarded fishing nets and turning them into clothes. He mentions in the article how all manner of plastics are finding there way into our oceans and killing marine life.

Admittedly the majority of us can’t go out and start a recycling business but all of us can help in the reduction of our use of plastics. Plastics of all kinds have become such a huge part of our lives that most of us don’t even think about it anymore. From the one use grocery bags to every single item we buy that is wrapped or contained inside of plastic.

It really has become a worldwide problem. It was looked on as a great invention when introduced and it really has changed how we live but at what expense?

I’m sure most of us recycle in our towns by separating plastics from paper etc but only a few types of plastics can be recycled by most municipal governments. And the small fraction that does get recycled still requires a lot of energy and water which just is not a good thing, kind of like robbing from Paul to pay Peter.

The plastics that can’t be recycled ends up in landfills and oceans and takes hundreds of years to degrade not to mention the toxins they release into the environment.

In the end the best way to stem the flow of plastics into our environment is for each and every one of us to start being conscious of what we are buying and what it is being packaged in and if there is an alternative.

Here are just a few ideas to start with but what we’re really looking for is feedback with your ideas of how to eliminate as much plastic from our lives as we can. Imagine if every person on the face of this planet followed these and other ideas about limiting the use of plastics in their lives what a positive effect it would be on our fragile environment!

A good example is the town where we are located, Northampton, Mass recently passed a ban on single use plastic shopping bags, you now have to use paper.

1. Bring Your Own Shopping Bag

Yes, the lowly plastic shopping bag. We’ve come to the point of not even thinking about these items but they are really one use items and end up in the waste stream. According to one estimate somewhere between five billion and one trillion bags are used each year around the world. That’s a lot of trash for an item that can easily be eliminated simply by bringing your own bag. I believe most us are just to plain lazy to do this but when you think about it it’s very easy. It’s just a matter of taking some time to figure out how many bags you would need and buy them once. Every grocery store I go to have these bags for sale so it’s not like you have to go looking for them.

2. Stop Buying Bottled Water!

This really is a no brainer. We have all been brainwashed into thinking that we need to buy the “pure spring water” they are selling us in bottles. It’s complete BS, in my opinion. Where do you think they are getting all the millions and millions of gallons of water that are in those bottles? From our aquifers of course. If you have a well it’s the same water you get from your tap. If you have city water I’ll bet it’s just as good as the bottled water. The real problem is the bottles, what does get recycled cost us a lot and what is not recycled, you got it, it ends up in the never ending waste stream. How about you just buy a bottle and keep it filled with water, problem solved.

3. Bring Your Own Thermos to the Coffee Shop

Did you know that most coffee cups you get to go are usually lined with polyethylene, a type of plastic resin. Yes the outside feels like paper but if it was all paper your coffee sure would not stay in the cup. So in theory you can recycle plastics and paper but when you put them together like this most places lack the infrastructure to do so. Oh and don’t forget the lids and stirrers, both made of plastic and the coffee vendors that still use polystyrene foam cups. By bringing your own coffee mug to get filled you can avoid adding all of these waste products to our environment.

4. Choose Cardboard Packaging Where Ever You Can

When you are shopping there will be many times that you actually have a choice of buying a product that is packaged in a paper product instead of plastic. I’ll admit this is sometimes impossible but at least give it a shot. Paper is very easy to recycle and if it does end up in the landfill it degrades very rapidly compared to plastics.

5. Drinking Straws

These innocent looking products are completely useless and unnecessary but have become such a mainstay of our everyday lives that we don’t even think about them. These are single use items that always end up in the trash and never in my opinion are recycled. You don’t need a straw to drink your beverage so be proactive and tell your server that you don’t need one.

6. Microplastics In Facial Products

This is one I was completely unaware of. Much of the plastics that end up in our oceans and are inadvertently consumed by marine life are called microplastics. Microplastics are commonly added to consumer products like face wash and toothpaste. These tiny beads are intended to exfoliate which they are great at accomplishing but most wastewater treatment facilities are not able to remove them from the water. There are many biodegradable alternative products that can replace the ones you now use, just avoid the ones that have “polypropylene” or “Polyethylene” on the ingredients list.

7. Ditch That Disposable Razor

I never really understood the need for a disposable razor but I guess it’s just another way for the manufactures to sell more product. It just make more sense to buy a razor that takes disposable blades once and then only have to buy the blades. By doing this you are reducing the amount of plastic you are contributing to the waste stream dramatically. All disposable razors are mostly made of plastics.

8. Switch From Disposable Diapers to Cloth

I can just hear the wails from this one. Yes disposable diapers are easy to use, they don’t need to be cleaned and save so much time. They also are contributing an immense amount of waste into our environment and as far as I know there is no process that is available to recycle them. I don’t have scientific numbers to back this up but if you think of all the baby’s in the world and that most of them are using disposable diapers there must be million of tons of these ending up in our landfill every year. The disposable diaper was invented in 1948, unveiled in 1961 by Procter & Gamble and by 1970 American babies went through 350,000 tons of diapers!

9. Plastic Storage Bags

These little bags are great for so many things, from putting our lunch sandwiches in to freezing food in. One really easy way to reduce your use of plastic is to reuse these items. Unless you have stored a meat of some kind in them they can be washed and reused many times over.

10. Cutting Down or Eliminating Period Waste

Believe it or not there are a number of non-disposable products out there that can cut down on period waste like the Diva Cup, the Ruby Cup and the DIY-with-pride Reusable Pads. Using any of these products will reduce incredible amounts of plastic packaging that most pads and tampons are encased in.If you need a little more encouragement to switch Treehugger has an interesting article about Ruby Cup helping African schoolgirls who can’t afford disposable products get much needed supplies by what they call their “Buy one, Give one” program. If for some reason you are not in a position to give up tampons, consider skipping brands with plastic applicators.

So there’s 10 idea’s. Now it’s your turn. Let the rest of us know what you do to stem the flow of plastics into our enviroment.

 

Introducing The New Epson Eco-Tank Printers

We are all quite familiar with the constant complaining about how expensive it is to print with a ink jet printer. How this business model is an exact duplicate of the old razor blade style of doing business. In this model you design a product that requires a replacement unit of some kind to make it function. The original guy that came up with this actually gave away the razor in the beginning with one free razor blade. After that the customer had to buy a replacement blade, that’s where the money is and the ongoing sales.

Here’s a shocking fact, the HP 60XL black cartridge holds about half an ounce of ink and cost $42.99 retail. So if you pay that for half an ounce and there are 128 ounces in a gallon that figures out to $11,005 per gallon! Now that’s insane anyway you look at it. Complaining about gas being at 3 or 4 dollars a gallon seems trivial when compared to this.

If that’s not bad enough a Consumer Report states that as much as 50% of the ink in a cartridge never makes it to the paper! It’s used to clean print heads and for other maintenance chores. Imagine filling your gas tank and your car uses 30 to 40% of the gas for other chores instead of making your car go. We’d all be up in arms.

This is great for the printer companies but really sucks for the rest of us. Epson it seems has seen the light or maybe is just listening to its customers. Or maybe some of it’s executives couldn’t sleep at night knowing how bad they were fleecing us. I doubt it but hey it’s a good thought.

Introducing the new Epson EcoTank set of printers. This is a radically new departure from the razor blade way of doing business and our hats are off to Epson. It’s not every day you see a large corporation take a new direction that is actually good for the consumer.

Instead of the small expensive ink jet cartridges that we are all familiar with, Epson has opted for entire ink bottles. When the ink tanks run out you simple fill them again with ink. This is so cool and so easy you wonder why nobody has thought about it before. Oh yea, that’s right because they were making a gazillion dollars selling us the tiny cartridges.

Epson is claiming that one fill should last the average user two years, holy Christmas that’s unbelievable. Now the printer themselves will cost more than the ones your used to but the savings you realize on the inks far offsets the printers cost.

Epson is offering five different models, from the small ET-2500 for personnel use or small office to the heavy duty, high volume business model the WF-R4640. All of these printers are pretty impressive on just about all fronts. All five of these printers are “All-in-One” machines, that is ther’re also color copiers and scanners and all are wireless.

The ET-2500 and the ER-2550 includes enough ink to print up to 4,000 pages in black and 6,500 in color. The ET-4500 and the ET-4550 comes with the same amount of ink but with more features than their smaller brethren.

Now for the beast, the WF-R4640, this puppy comes with enough ink to print 20,000 pages and 20,000 pages color, now that’s impressive. It can print 20 ppmn (pages per minute) in black or color. 500 sheet capacity, 2 sided printing, copying, scanning and faxing plus a 35 page auto document feeder. I wonder if it can make you a cup of coffee in the morning?

So lets look at the numbers. The starter model, the ET-2500, costs $380. It comes with enough ink for 6,500 color pages.

On a comparable $70 inkjet printer, you’d need about 20 sets of $40 ink cartridges to print that much. So the economics look like this:

Cost for 6,500 color pages:

EcoTank printer + ink: $380

Standard printer + cartridges: $870

If you take the printer’s price out of the equation and look only at the ink, the savings get even better. A replacement set of EcoTank bottles goes for $52. (You can buy them individually for $13 each.) That’s another 6,500 pages.

Ink cost for 6,500 color pages:

Epson bottles: $52

Cartridges: $800

The comparison holds about the same for all the models! The savings are huge and of course you are not stuck with throwing the empties into the trash which is a big no no for us.

the only downside I can see to these printers is that you have to manually refill the ink tanks Vs just installing another ink jet cartridge but this is not really a big deal. You will have to refill them on average once a year unless your printing like crazy but let’s face it, how hard is it to uncap a bottle and fill it up?

If your looking for a solid printer that is a multi-functional, prints in color, ink last a good 12 months and can save you hundreds a year these Epson printers could just be what you are looking for.