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[greenyes] Cartridge recycling programs in Brazil

Just read an interesting discussion of Lexmark's printer & toner cartridge recycling program in Brazil. [Lexmark has also launched collection programs in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.] I have not heard of similar programs yet being operated by other multinational cartridge companies in Brazil or elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean [HP has a program in Mexico, albeit perhaps not as creative], but if any GreenYes'ers know of any, please e-mail me as I am trying to get a firmer feel for such initiatives, their motivations, procedures, safeguards and end-results, for an article I am working on.

Interesting to me is that cartridge recycling is not yet explicitly mandated by law in any any of these countries. There have been targeted proposals at the national level for it in Argentina and Brazil, but none yet passed. Mexico's new waste law (through the requirements for "special wastes") and the existing law in one of the Brazilian states covered by Lexmark's programs (and a couple not yet covered by the program) might be construed as requiring some sort of program for managing used cartridges, but that is all at the moment. Some of the state waste policy bills pending in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro's new WEEE bill would likely cover cartridges once passed ...

For those of you who can read or muddle through Portuguese, the link at the Brazilian edition of PC World Online for the entire article is:

The article also briefly discusses collection efforts by a local remanufacturer, Brasilfax -- vendors of the Multilaser brand.

Lexmark is trying all sorts of things to get Brazilian consumers to turn in their used cartridges. In five of Brazil's biggest cities -- São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba (capital of Paraná), Brasília & Recife (capital of Pernambuco) people turning them in at designated collection points get a free movie ticket. Lexmark hopes to launch similar programs in two other of the 10 largest cities, Salvador (capital of Bahia) and Fortaleza (capital of Ceará), by year-end, in cooperation with the Cinemark e UCI theater chains.

Also in São Paulo people can instead get a coupon for a free lasagna or pastry at the Pastelândia restuarant chain. Lexmark recently worked out a similar deal for pizza slices with Pizza Hut in Brazil's third largest city, Belo Horizonte (capital of Minas Gerais).

Lexmark has also worked out a deal whereby a turned cartidge can get a free ticket to a Corinthians football (soccer) game (undoubtedly the cheap seats!). In the PC World article Lexmark says it is trying to work out similar deals with football teams in every state of Brazil.

Lexmark says it encourages consumers to turn in their empty cartridges not only for the environmental benefit, but also in this manner they minimize pirate operations that take their empty cartridges, fill it with non-Lexmark inks, and resale as new.

Lexmark has also worked out deals in São Paulo & Belo Horizonte whereby people can trade in their cartridges for a Lexmark donation to select charities, such as APAE, a group in São Paulo that helps the mentally challenged.

In the PC World article, a Lexmark spokesman says that the cartridges are "sent for recycling" as part of Lexmark's worldwide program. But it doesn't say where and what the company considers to be recycling. I checked Lexmark's page on the program for Brazil [], and it says the following:

Os cartuchos devolvidos são desmembrados em várias partes e suas peças são separadas de acordo com o material que são feitas. Os materiais (plásticos, espumas, metais) são reprocessados e convertidos em matérias-primas para que outras indústrias as utilizem na fabricação dos mais variados produtos.

Roughly translated: The returned cartridges are dismembered into
various parts and their pieces separated according to the types of
material with which they are made. The materials (plastics, foams,
metals) are reprocessed and converted into primary materials for
other industries to utilize in the manufacture of various products.

Lexmark is a bit vague about what happens with the portions that cannot be recycled...

Checking out Lexmark's listing of collection points [], looks like they already have some in other large cities not mentioned in the PC World article, such as Campinas (São Paulo state's second largest city), Santos (Brazil's busiest port, in São Paulo), and Porto Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul).

A Brazilian remanufacturer (there is a large and growing cartridge remanufacturing business in Brazil), Brasilfax/Faxpoint, does the charity thing for the Association for Aid to Retarded Children (AACD) and the Albert Einstein hospital in São Paulo for cartridge handed into them. They even include envelopes in their Multilaser cartridge boxes to facilitate donations to AACD of empty cartridges that the Association can turn in for cash.]

Brasilfax will also buy back empty cartridges at 40 collection points in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo at an average price of around R$15 per cartridge -- around US$5.

Sr. Keith Edward Ripley
Temas Actuales LLC
6333 Beryl Road
Alexandria, VA 22312-6304
telefono: 703-813-6016
telefax: 703-813-6017
celular: 703-731-7108
e-mail: keith.ripley@no.address

Autor del libro "Solid Wastes and Recycling Policy in Latin America & the Caribbean"

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