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Monday, December 20, 2010

OEM vs. Reman Cartridges: The Battle of the Green

Interestingly, many clients are increasingly contemplating Remanufactured (Reman) vs. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) toner cartridges. According to an InfoTrends webinar from September 2009 here, the trend is showing a lean towards Reman.

Really? Who wants used...anything?

Um...everyone. It's the new Green.

Let's take a look across the vast sea of possibilities.

Seemingly, around the world, “drilling & filling” and "fluffing and buffing" is the new “green” (minus the new bomb version). Go here. Can you go anywhere these days without being reminded to recycle or hearing a commercial about Reman cartridges?

It's not only onshore and offshore companies seeking the virgin cartridges, OEM’s are screaming green initiatives with their own recycling efforts.  Between the two, who is more green, OEM or Reman? 

See where Lexmark, Toshiba and Xerox ensure their “recycling” goals are met here.

Question is, are they recycling for the good of the planet or to reduce competition from Reman?

Intention is everything.

Of course we all know the mother of the largest number of virgin cartridges is HP.  I think they say there is a printer sold every second of the day all year around.  That sure is a lot of mouths to keep feeding.

Anyway, one of their many ways of capturing the newly empty "pure" ones is through programs with partners that scream, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”. One example of the sideways partnering was with Staples. This chivalrous agreement opened the doors to being an “HP Authorized Recycling Location” for HP virgins.  I thought it was if they stopped selling Reman's, but I guess not.  See Staples “Sustainable Earth brand” (i.e. reman) toner for HP printers here.

Hey, you can even earn a few reward/bond dollars for turning in the uncorrupted little "fillies"...

Let's have a peek at a naked truth.

What happens to the Reman’s once they've been used twice, thrice or who knows? Recently I heard a company uses them up to 7 times.   Go Green...! Or is it green at all?  According to InfoTrends in the September 2009 webinar, all but 7% of the shameful harlots are hauled off to be buried in a dump.  That means 93% of Reman cartridges are buried deep into the Earth. How “green” is that?  

On another green note (sneer), the other day I heard that if HP receives a Reman cartridge they are required by law to incinerate the cartridge due to the unknown and potentially harmful chemicals it contains.  Question is, can these Reman cartridges be re-routed to become part of the new and expanding Trash-To-Energy initiatives?  (Ugh-hem, I can't breath...)

In sum, the cartridge market is shaping up to be a “Wicked Game” all around.  As providers, consultants, and clients, can we really understand which one is an Earth friendly business practice behind all the veils of hidden truths?

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  1. My experience with reman cartridges has been nothing but bad. My recommendation would be to stay away from them or make it very clear what the customer's expectations are for the image quality and reliability. If the customer is just doing disposable print I suppose reman cartridges would be OK but if the customer expects good looking solids and no background you are risking your relationship with the customer by selling them reman cartridges. Run, Run Away my friends!!!!

  2. Hey Anonymous,

    Thanks for reading and your comment. Yes, there are a lot of issues with Reman. Usually I see Reman for black and white output and OEM for color, and yes, it all comes down to the use of the image.

    Thanks again!

  3. Drill and fill is not true remanufacturing...

    TRUE remanufacturing involves replacing all parts inside the core with brand new OEM spec parts.

    The cartridges should then be quality tested multiple times to match that of OEM...

    At least that is what we do...

    more than 60% of our business is MPS contracts and about 95% of those contracts use remans exclusively.

  4. Hi Nathan,

    I completely agree with you, "drilling and filling is not true remanufacturing."

    The "wicked" part of it all, is what happens at the end of life. According to infotrends, only 4% are being disposed of in an Earth friendly way. (see tree above:)

    All in all, I'm for True Re-manufactured cartridges. Currently, I'm contributing to USGBC's, LEED Public Comment forum to support both; true re-manufacturing and true recycling of cartridges.

    Thanks for reading and I really appreciate your comment. Cheers!

  5. Had a printer remanfacture cartidge business. Aftermarket consumables dont last. Each cartridge can be a nightmare waiting to happen. Sold the business a few years ago, was more profitable as a sell than an ongoing business. Stick with OEM, in the long run you will get your moneys worth.


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