Inkjet printers create a colossal amount of unnecessary waste, on purpose.
HP trumpted a long time ago that more money was made in ink cartridges not the printer (apparently $8000 a gallon). They thus developed their "freebie" printer market around small plastic boxes of ink meant to be non-refillable; a new steady stream of waste was born, protected by various forms of security (mostly obscurity) with a proprietary cartridge and a security chip.
I suppose you could believe the marketing about new nozzles and special heat, colors, etc. but the bottom line is that the cartridges are small, expensive and apparently designed to run out (dry out from non-use or have an expiration time set on their chip) as quickly as possible.
With all that in mind, in 2009 I wandered into the San Francisco Green Festival. I found the usual farmers, the chemists, the arts and crafts…and then I noticed Silo Ink. A tech company! It seemed too good to be true. They will sell you a kit to replace your inkjet cartridges with a nozzle that is connected to an external ink tank, like a large-format professional printer. Their setup costs a little over $100, which seems like a huge bargain compared to a set of regular inkjet cartridges that last 1/10 as long yet cost at least $60.
In 2008, what started off as a research project became the foundation of our business today. With every statistic collected, the environmental impact of ink cartridges was disheartening. The pace of cataclysmic destruction of Mother Earth was increasing to its highest level ever with affordable ink jet printers hitting the market. At the same time, news of a recession had stymied years of growth and hard working people are now starting to lose their jobs. A “spend less, save more” mentality had been adopted by many, but in one particular area, spending less proved amazingly difficult: printer consumables. In an increasingly paperless world, there remains a steady demand of ink jet printers for many applications. Most everyone knows that inkjet ink is the most expensive liquid in the world and we didn’t see a valid reason for why that is. These two issues quickly became the focal point of our mission at Silo Ink.
This is even better than injecting your own ink (messy, time-consuming) and recycling them at ink stores (time-consuming, expensive) because it also solves the problem of evaporating ink in the cartridges.
I am excited to see that they will be at the Green Festival again this year. I highly recommend you visit them to find out more about disruption of the inkjet printer cartridge supply model — see how innovation can significantly curb harmful and unnecessary waste.