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Canon colors its printers green

Canon's "Generation Green" label will mark eco-friendly innovations on printers.

Canon printers will soon arrive in stores with a green label flaunting eco-friendly features including energy conservation and recycled materials. The company's "Generation Green" brand will mark Pixma and Selphy photo inkjets as well as the laser ImageClass lines of printers.

"Printers are the one area where you can really improve the environment," said Canon spokesman Justin Joseph. "Their production is a massive undertaking that requires a lot of raw materials, and we've found so many ways to reduce that."

Some inks will be encased in NatureStone biodegradable packs made from limestone rather than wood pulp. User manuals are to be printed on 70 percent recycled paper, and recycled plastics will make up the power supply casings for the Pixma line.

Modular product designs have helped to reduce the size of boxes by 20 percent. Instead of styrofoam, air-filled baggies cushion the products during shipping. The packaging changes alone will halve greenhouse gas emissions, nearly halve the energy needed to make it, and reduce the use of petroleum by 65 percent, according to Canon.

Nine in 10 Canon printers already automatically flip over pages for double sided-printing, saving paper. Canon has offered free mail-in recycling for laser printer toner for several years but lacks a disposal program for inkjet printer cartridges.

The printers comply with the EPA's Energy Star guidelines and with European rules governing the use of toxic materials.

Other than Energy Star, there are no industrywide consumer labels to mark printers and other consumer electronics as eco-friendly. Joseph said the highly competitive nature of the industry largely prevents printer makers from creating a common "green" standard.