HP expands recycling effort for inkjet cartridges

Starting next month, customers buying the company's inkjet printer cartridges will get an option of returning empty cartridges for recycling, using a postage-paid envelope.

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Hewlett-Packard said Wednesday that it will include postage-paid envelopes with some of its inkjet printer cartridges, in an attempt to spur recycling.

The envelopes will be enclosed with new HP 56 and 57 inkjet print cartridge boxes starting next month. Until now, the in-box postage-paid return option was available only for LaserJet cartridges, though inkjet customers request postage-paid shipping materials through a recycling page on the company's Web site.

Computer makers have been trying to increase recycling of PCs, printers and other products, in response to regulatory pressures and campaigns by groups such as the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

HP launched its recycling program for cartridges in 1991. Since then, the company says, more than 64 million inkjet and LaserJet cartridges have been recycled into raw materials for use in new consumer products.

Now, the hardware maker is investigating whether some recycled material can be used in the making of its own products. HP has experimented with a Scanjet scanner component made from a combination of recycled inkjet cartridge plastic and recycled plastic bottles, for example.

"We will provide leadership on the journey to an environmentally sustainable future, with environmentally sound products and creative recycling systems," Pradeep Jotwani, senior vice president at HP's Imaging and Printing Group, said in a statement.

Separately, computer maker Dell announced on Wednesday that it will fund universities, communities and nonprofit groups to organize programs in 2004 that both teach people about recycling and collect computer gear for recycling. The objective of these grants, totaling $120,000, will be to raise awareness regarding the life cycles of computer products so that reusable and recyclable gear does not reach landfills.