Tuesday, 3 February 2009

I Saved A Bit Of The World Today

...by refilling the toner cartridge of my laser printer.

One thing I've always absolutely hated about the computer printer industry is the sheer waste and expense involved in replacing inkjet and toner cartridges. These things are quite complex bits of engineering (especially toner carts), and it makes no sense whatsoever to me to throw them away just because they're empty. But the manufacturers of these things go to great lengths to make it difficult or impossible to refill them. It's often said that printer makers are in the business of selling ink, rather than printers.

My laser printer has been complaining about low toner for a few months now. When this happens, I pick the machine up and give it a bloody good shake. That normally sorts it out. But a week ago, it really was empty, and I really was not happy at the prospect of buying a new cartridge - not least because it would cost about 80 Euros; that's very nearly the cost of a new printer.

So I set about finding a supplier who could refill my cartridge, and came across U Refill Toner Ltd, in Birmingham (refilltoner.co.uk). They have kits to refill pretty much any laser printer ever made, including colour ones. I ordered one for mine, and it cost about 15 Euros plus 5 for delivery. It arrived this morning, and includes everything you need - bottle of toner, pouring spout, little screwdriver to lever the plug off with, syringe of sealant in case it leaks afterward and an alcohol-soaked cleaning cloth in case you get thirsty. There's also a face mask and surgical gloves, and most importantly, full, illustrated instructions on how to do it, and what to do if things go wrong.

Very impressed, I am. And the printer worked first time with identical print quality to what I was getting before.

6 comments:

leftbanker said...

For some reason I was thinking of this very issue today. I should be illegal to sell a printer if the cartridge is expensive. The rpinter industry needs to be flogged for the way they have run their business model. I, too, have replaced a printer rather than get a new ink cartridge. There is something evil in that.

I hope your printer keeps working. I bought a knock-off cartridge and my printer shit the bed after about 50 pages or so.

planetgermany said...

Haha! Well done.

The first time I tried that, I ended up with blue (or cyan or whatever it's called) powder everywhere - I ended up taking the cartridge outside to the courtyard to change, and shaking the excess powder into a flower bed.

The next thing I knew, my daughter's white cat came in looking decidedly blue (or cyan) ... I'd inadvertently deposited toner on the place he normally likes to call his toilet... and his scratching had churned the stuff all over himself....

Jayne said...

We've had the refill kits in SA for around 10yrs already, I think simply because people can't afford to buy new cartridges all the time. I agree with you tho Keefie, it's bloody daft when you have to pay nearly the price of a new printer, just for a refill cartridge.

Dhabi Dabbler said...

I tried refilling one old printer cartridge and ended up will ink over me over the table - and a small amount in the cartridge. Didn't work and the printer was never the same afterwards. Deliberate sabotage by the printer makers! Oh and hi from the UK.

the real nick said...

keefie, you don't need a working printer to keep blogging, you know!

Keefieboy said...

Oh, TNR is missing me. How sweet!