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RE: [GreenYes] smart chip non-recyclable ink cartridges
This is sounding a whole lot like efforts about 20 years ago to require
that only branded autoparts could be used in repairing an automobile. 
The goal was exactly the same:  to control the aftermarket and ensure
high prices once competition was removed.

I recall there being a Supreme Court case on this issue, in which the
automakers lost soundly.  The requirements were deemed anti-competitive.
 I think there was another case dealing with the purchase of unbranded
gasoline by gas stations affiliated with a particular oil company.  The
oil companies lost: affiliates could buy whatever they liked so long as
it met minimum performance standards.

In terms of printers, it would seem as though the manufacturers would
need to prove verifiably that the use of inferior inks or cartridges
does damage the printer.  

-It would not be sufficient to show that substitute cartridges provide
inferior print output but don't damage the printer, since the consumer
should be free to make this cost/benefit trade-off.

-Furthermore, even if they did prove that inferior products damaged the
printer, this would still likely give them only the right to stipulate
minimum standards on cartridge replacement, not to electronically
prevent the entry of high quality but lower-cost cartridges manufactured

Any lawyers on the list with more details on these precedental cases? 
I'd imagine these cartridge makers are quite vulnerable to a legal
challenge, and the threat of one (and its associated negative publicity)
might get some pretty fast movement in opening up this aftermarket

-Doug Koplow

Doug Koplow
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA  02140
Tel:  617/661-4700
Fax: 617/354-0463

>>> "DiNucci, Dina" <Dina.DiNucci@no.address> 02/12/03 05:03PM
I don't know if the SmartChips prevent ALL recycling options from
taking place.  Those cartridges may be recyclable by the printer
manufacturer.  The question is more of the monopoly on the ink jet
cartridge options (which affects cost and reuse/recycle options).

Different Scenarios:  
Home inkjet refilling is a common practice where you go to the local
store and pick up the inks and the injector to refill your cartridges
which enables you to refill your own cartridges as many times as needed.
 Once the printing quality goes down, it's time to get a new cartridge.
(I suspect as smartchips become commonplace the companies that produce
"home refill sets" will have to find alternative revenue generators -
but not ink cartridges because 
that leads to the next issue . . .)

Off-brand recycling cartridges have always been another option for
purchase.  These cartridges have been just as recyclable as the Printer
Brand because they are basically the same ink jet cartridge.  The
off-brand cartridges kept some competition in pricing prior to the
"smart chip," because Printer companies knew if they overpriced their
cartridges customers would chose the lower priced brand.  (The smart
chip only printers have much more expensive cartridges.)

What the smart chip has done is given full control to the printer
manufacturer to be the only printer cartridge that can be used.  This
allows the printer manufacturer to control all decisions having to do
with ink jet cartridge practices.  The smart chip makes it so no one can
use the home refill kits anymore, thus abolishing the reuse option.  The
smart chip makes it so no one can buy off-brand cartridges anymore, and
potentially render any off-brand cartridges unrecyclable.  Because, if
the off-brand can't turn those cartridges around for resale . . .

I am not certain whether the major printer manufacturers noted are
recycling the "smart chip cartridges or not...  

Interesting facts I found with my Epson C60 which takes the smart chip
. . .

1) If you try to refill a cartridge and put it back in, it renders the
printer "dead." When calling Epson support they begrudgingly sent me a
new printer, but they explained that I had not followed manufacturers
directions by trying to use another cartridge. They had to replace the
printer.  (How's that for waste reduction?)

2) I have been told (not confirmed) that the printer cartridges tracks
the ink, not by the actual volume left, but by how many prints have been
sent and estimates when the cartridge should be emptied - and refuses to
print anymore when that magic number has been reached, regardless of
whether ink remains.  (WR, again?)

3) When voicing my objections to Epson customer service they said Epson
sees this as a step forward in good customer service because by only
allowing their cartridges to be used they offer the chance of a longer
life printer by insuring their printer doesn't break down by using
"inferior ink" that could shorten the printer's life.  


-----Original Message-----
From: michelle smith [mailto:pcrecycles@no.address] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 11:50 AM
To: kspringr@no.address; greenyes@no.address 
Subject: Re: [GreenYes] smart chip non-recyclable ink cartridges

I am hoping that someone can clarify this printer cartridge recycling
war.  Are companies losing money by recycling the cartridges?  For
example, we send our deskjet cartridges back to Hewlett Packard.  Why do
they offer this service if they are losing money?  Or do they not
recycle them and is it for PR only?  If someone could clarify why
companies want to prevent the recycling of cartridges (hence the making
of these Smarchips), I would appreciate it.  Thank you! 
Michelle Smith 


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