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Re: [greenyes] Fwd: A Message From Epson

Hi Alan,

My read of this kind of near-form letter indicates that Epson is unwilling
to truly reconsider its WTE policy, or its PR, on used cartridges. They are
trying to save face, and doing it poorly by leaning on "federally approved"
methods etc., and by reducing the complaints of GreenYessers to one of
semantics (should they call it "recycling" or "energy recovery") rather than

As far as a response, I'd offer two things:
1) WTE as "the best solution we have identified so far" is disingenuous.
This is not my forté, but I was under the impression that other companies
have managed to make the refilling and resale of spent cartridges
economical, so I don't know why Epson can't do that, too. (Anyone wanna
explain that to me?)

2) Just because "a valuable end-product, which is usable energy, is produced
by burning cartridges," doesn't mean that is the best method to "dispose" of
spent cartridges. One could burn my old kitchen table to produce "usable
energy," too, but that doesn't mean one should; surely it could be
refinished and resold to a person for a second life.

Is there a point person working on this issue, or is it so far just a
collection of individuals writing Epson on their own?


On 9/30/04 6:43 AM, Alan Muller at amuller@no.address wrote:

>> I received this reply from Epson in response to my note objecting to their
>> "recycling" of printer cartridges by incineration:
>> Dear Mr. Muller,
>> I received your message regarding Epson's expansion of our ink cartridge
>> recycling program. I appreciate your concerns and thank you for taking
>> the time to share your thoughts.
>> Our goal is to provide the most efficient and environmentally safe method
>> of disposing of empty ink cartridges while also being able to help our
>> schools. The research we did indicates that the federally approved
>> waste-to-energy facility we are using is an effective and appropriate way
>> to dispose of these containers and the best solution we have identified so
>> far.
>> A modern waste-to-energy facility should not be confused with simple open
>> burning of refuse. In a waste-to-energy facility, the heat generated by
>> the combustion process is recovered and converted into usable energy. The
>> energy is produced either in the form of steam or in the form of
>> electricity produced by steam turbine generators. Waste-to-energy
>> facilities have state-of-the-art air pollution control systems to ensure
>> permit compliance. This process reduces waste by 90%, which would
>> otherwise go into a landfill.
>> It has been brought to our attention, however, that while this process
>> creates a valuable end-product, which is usable energy, many people
>> believe more accurate term is energy recovery, rather than the generic
>> term recycling that we used to describe it. While we believe our solution
>> has many merits, we are always looking for improvement, so I welcome your
>> suggestions for better alternatives as we continue to seek out methods to
>> improve this process.
>> Sincerely,
>> Shelby Houston
>> Manager, Customer Programs
>> Epson America, Inc.
>> shelby_houston@no.address
>> 562-290-5445


Jennifer Gitlitz
Research Director, Container Recycling Institute

Home Office:
2 Pomeroy Ave.
Dalton, MA 01226
Tel. (413) 684-4746
Mobile: (413) 822-0115
Fax: (413) 403-0233
Email: jgitlitz@no.address

Container Recycling Institute headquarters:
1911 N. Ft. Myer Dr. #702
Arlington, VA 22209-1603
Tel. (703) 276-9800
Fax: (703) 276-9587

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