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HP innovates "closed loop" inkjet cartridge recycling

In an industry first, HP today announced it has developed an engineering breakthrough that enables the use of post-consumer recycled plastics in the production of new Original HP inkjet print cartridges. More than 200 million cartridges have been manufactured using the process thus far. HP used more than 5 million pounds of recycled plastic in its inkjet cartridges last year, and the company is committed to using twice as much in 2008. The company’s innovative recycling process facilitates the combination of multiple sources and grades of recycled plastics – from everyday water bottles to highly technical HP inkjet cartridges. In addition to closing the design loop, using recycled content saves energy and keeps plastic out of landfills – since first piloting the process, HP has used enough recycled plastic to fill more than 200 tractor trailers.(1) “By developing the technology to use recycled plastics in Original HP inkjet print cartridges, we have the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact HP products have on the planet,” said Michael Hoffmann, senior vice president, Supplies, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. “HP’s considerable investments in building a recycling infrastructure made this achievement possible, and this is just the beginning of what we hope to accomplish.” Innovation without compromise In developing this process, HP engineers, chemists and partners dedicated themselves to finding a way to provide the environmental benefits of using recycled materials while still delivering the uncompromising quality and reliability customers count on from HP. HP inkjet cartridges returned through HP’s Planet Partners program undergo a multi-phase recycling process that reduces them to raw materials such as plastics and metals. HP combines plastic from the inkjet cartridges with recycled bottle resin and a suite of compounding additives to ensure all recycled materials meet HP’s high-performance standards. The amount of recycled content in these HP inkjet cartridges may vary between 70 to 100 percent of the total plastic used, but the reliability results for each product are stringently tested and consistent across the lineup. And unlike companies that simply remanufacture cartridges, HP has found a way to mold these recycled plastic components into new Original HP inkjet cartridges. Honored by the industry In recognition of HP’s inventive approach to using recycled content, the Society of Plastics Engineers, a trade organization for plastics professionals, plans to present HP with its most prestigious environmental stewardship award at the Global Plastics Environmental Conference in March. “HP’s use of recycled plastic in an application as technically demanding as their inkjet cartridges represents an unprecedented engineering innovation,” said Larry Koester, vice president of Communications, Environmental Division, Society of Plastics Engineers. “This remarkable achievement comes after many years of perseverance and ingenuity by HP and their partners.” Designing with the environment in mind HP’s approach to environmental management of its print cartridges considers every facet of the product lifecycle – from design to manufacture to recycling. Incorporating recycled plastics in Original HP inkjet cartridges closes the loop on this lifecycle management. Using recycled content is the latest advancement from HP’s Design for Environment program, which reduces the environmental impact of HP cartridges through material usage, ease of recycling and packaging efficiency. HP’s Planet Partners return and recycling program provides free and convenient cartridge returns in more than 45 countries, regions and territories. Customers can be confident in HP’s environmental management because cartridges returned through Planet Partners are never refilled, resold or sent to a landfill.

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