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The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, which was ratified last month, calls for printer companies to build technical design features into printer ink cartridges at the production stage that allow for the dismantling and recovery of the used cartridges as well as for reuse.
The aim is to compel member states to minimise the disposal by consumers of so-called electroscrap as unsorted municipal waste. The EU wants to ensure that IT and telecommunications equipment - such as computer mainframes, minicomputers, PCs and notebooks and peripherals including printers - can be reused or recycled in some manner if possible.
The likes of Hewlett-Packard, Epson, Canon and Lexmark International may suffer financially from such a law as revenues from non-reusable cartridges could be affected significantly.