UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into a triple bottom line analysis of remanufactured toner cartridges vs. OEM cartridges Li, Ivan; Sy, Justin; Wang, Derek; Janzen, Joel 2013-11-28

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IAn Investigation into a Triple Bottom Line Analysis of Remanufactured Toner Cartridges vs.OEM CartridgesInvestigation Team:Ivan LiJustin SyDerek WangJoel JanzenTutorial InstructorDr. XiaotaoAPSC 261Date Submitted: November 28, 2013IIABSTRACTThe purpose of this report is to use a Triple Bottom Line investigation of Remanufacturedand OEM toner cartridges. Remanufactured cartridges will be compared against OEM cartridgeson three main evaluation criteria: Economics Benefits, Social Benefits, and EnvironmentalBenefits. Currently, The University of British Columbia (UBC) does not a structured program inplace to regulate the purchasing and recycling of toner cartridges on campus. Our team set out tolook into why remanufactured toner cartridges should be considered and encouraged in UBC’spurchasing strategy. First, an estimate of the financial budget on toner cartridges purchased wascompared against the costs (as seen by the customer) of remanufactured cartridges. Secondly,the carbon emissions and energy consumption was compared between the two material flows andlook at the end impact in landfills. Finally, the different social impacts on both producers andconsumers were considered for both options provided to the purchaser. It was found thatremanufactured toner cartridges provide significant financial benefits. The consumer will likelynot see any negative impacts in terms of printing performance with remanufactured cartridgeswith a reputable remanufacturer. The benefits then would lead to the conclusion that it isrecommended that UBC adopt a plan to encourage the purchasing of remanufactured tonercartridges wherever possible.IIITABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT IILIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND TABLES IVGLOSSARY VLIST OF ABBREVIATIONS IV1.0 INTRODUCTION 12.0 FINANCIAL IMPACT 23.0 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT 64.0 SOCIAL IMPACT 105.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 136.0 REFERENCES 14IVList of Illustrations and TablesTable 1: Price Comparison between OEM and Remanufactured toner cartridges……………..3Table 2. Material Composition of HP C4127X (Berglind and Eriksson, 2002)..........................7VGlossaryToner cartridge: is a consumable component contains toner power, which makes the imageappear on the paper.Triple bottom line: expands the traditional reporting framework to take into account social andenvironmental performance in addition to financial performance.VIList of AbbreviationsOEM: Original Equipment ManufacturerGHG: Green House GassesHIPS: High Impact PolyStyreneABS: Acrylonitrile Butadiene StyrenePVC:Polyvinyl ChlorideLDPE:Low-Density PolyEthylene11.0 INTRODUCTIONRemanufactured toner cartridges have some advantages over OEM toner cartridges interms of financial aspect, environmental impact and social impact. Normally, remanufacturedtoner cartridges are 30 to 60 percent cheaper than OEM ones. In addition, a well resembledremanufactured toner cartridge could give better yield and longer lifespan. The recyclingprogram that usually comes with the remanufactured toner cartridges are more convenient tocustomers.The study of the environmental impact comparison between OEM and remanufacturedcartridges are approached from the material production and replacement perspective. With OEMcartridges, the materials are discarded into landfills or recycled, whereas remanufacturedcartridges make use of old materials, reducing the need for raw material and new parts. Theimpact from raw material production alone results in about 1.5 kg of CO2 emission. The impactof different cartridges on the usage phase is also considered in this report, as 90% of the energycost related to printing occurs during the usage phase.Finally, the study of the different social impacts on the consumer, producer and society asa whole is considered. The different processes by which a consumer can get a toner cartridge(Remanufactured and OEM were considered) have a different impact on the parties that areinvolved. These impacts were investigated and reported.22.0 FINANCIAL IMPACTToner cartridges can be expensive, sometimes exceeding the cost of cheaper laser printers.Advocates of these products assert that remanufactured toner cartridges are less expensive thanOEM cartridges. Switching to remanufactured cartridges can result in a cost savings of between30 and 60 percent per unit (UoWM purchasing services, 2013). This is because merchants thatdeal mainly with remanufactured products are able to set their own prices as opposed to havingto adhere to the prices established by companies such as HP, Epson and Dell. Remanufacturedcartridges also are filled to capacity while the cartridges that come from the manufactureroftentimes are not.Below is the price comparison table of most frequently purchased new OEM toner versusremanufactured toner in the faculty of engineering at University of British of Columbia.(Digitech online catalogue, 2013)3Toner Cartridge OEM Price Reman Price SavingsHP CE278A TONER $64.21 $12.50 $51.71HP Q6000A BLACK TONER $68.87 $23.00 $45.87HP CF280A LASERJET TONER CART BLK $94.90 $49.83 $45.07BROTHER TN450 HY BLACK TONER $44.12 $29.99 $14.13SAMSUNG D1630 LASERJET TONER $79.99 $49.99 $30.00XEROX CT201499 TONER $74.50 $43.49 $31.00Table 1. Price Comparison between OEM and Remanufactured toner cartridgesThese are the models of laser toner cartridges that are commonly used in the Engineeringfaculty at UBC. UBC Engineering faculty uses about 8-10 toner cartridges every month, notincluding the toners in the labs and research labs. The total amount could be double,remanufactured toners could save Engineering faculty at approximately $8000 a year. This isjust a number from one faculty in UBC, in fact, UBC has about 10,186 small and large faculties;therefore, remanufacture toner cartridges could save the whole university millions of dollarsannually instead of using OEM toner cartridges. In order to clearly see the financial benefit in alarger scale, according to the report which is to respond to the Administration Committee'srequest to review and evaluate the City of Toronto's experience using remanufactured tonercartridges after one year's time. From April 1st 2004 to March 31st 2005, City of Toronto4consumed approximately 4632 toner cartridges on an average price of $197.67 per cartridge. Thetotal usage value was $915,610.22, and there is only a small portion of remanufactured tonercartridges were included. However, during the period of Apr 1st 2005 to Mar 31st 2006, which isexactly the same time period in the following year. City of Toronto increase the volume ofremanufacture toner cartridges to a certain level, with total volume of 3658 cartridges were used.It cost them $293,872.86 with average price of $80.34 per cartridge. The rising volume ofremanufactured toner cartridges gives City of Toronto an extra budget of $621,737.36, which is asignificant amount of money for them (City of Toronto administration committee, 2006).The process to produce remanufactured toner cartridge is which the OEM or othercompatible cartridge is dismantled after the first use. disassembled and meticulously recorded.Individual parts are cleaned, inspected and replaced if necessary. Any residual toner is removedand replenished with new toner. The remanufacturing process differs from one factory to another,as well as the quality of toner that the cartridge is filled with. These are important factors to takeinto account when purchasing remanufactured toner cartridges because they can ultimately leadto leaking, printer malfunction, or even damaging the printer altogether. Despite the poor qualityof some of the remanufactured toner cartridge, many other companies offers very good serviceson replacement and recycling. Digitech is a company that supplies many of the remanufacturedtoner cartridges to UBC departments, Cartridges are then reassembled and quality tested fourtimes before being delivered. They have been working with UBC to develop a campus widetoner recycling program. They offer Free next-day delivery and pickup of old cartridges. Inaddition, they also offer 1 year same-day replacement guarantee, which ensure that the quality oftheir products are as good as the OEMs (Digitech Remanufactured toner cartridge, 2013). There5are many other suppliers that offer similar programs to their customers, and these programs notonly help to preserve our environment, but also bring a lot of convenience and financial benefitsto their customers. Besides, normally remanufactured toner cartridges could be refilled or redonefor three to four times, which yields a lifespan of three to four times longer than OEMs.Based on the price comparison, it indicates that remanufactured cartridges are 30 to 60percent cheaper than the OEM cartridges. In addition, remanufactured toner cartridges have waymore financial benefits on the cost of maintenance, parts, recycling programs and lifespans.Economically, remanufactured toner cartridges dominants compare to the OEM toner cartridges.63.0 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTA usual toner cartridge consist a casing, a toner drum, and various plastic or metalmoving parts (cogwheel, rails etc). Plastics that are most commonly used for toners are HighImpact PolyStyrene (HIPS) and/or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) (Berglind andEriksson, 2002). The normal operation of a cartridge would incur little wear or damage on theplastic casing, which mean the casing is highly reusable. While the drum and and other movingparts do suffer wear and contamination for repeated usage, depending on the material, these partscan often last several usage cycle and are readily replaceable. Xerox remanufactured 60%, byvolume, of cartridges returned to them. Remanufactured cartridge from Xerox contains about90% of reuse/recycled parts (Xerox Green World Alliance, 2010). Cartridge World, anothercartridge remanufacturer, produced 1,955 units of remanufactured black toner cartridge with 91kg of material, whereas producing the same number of new cartridges would require 1457 kg ofmaterial (Best Foot Forward).While the impact of individual cartridge may seemed small, there are estimated to be 350million toners cartridges that are sent to landfills.(Toner Giant). Based on the aforementionedstatistics, promoting usage of remanufacturing toner cartridge from used components can save asignificant amount of materials from being produced and dumped into landfills, thereforereducing the amount of energy used on redundant production and as well by helping theenvironment through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.7The following section will investigate the potential environmental impact from thematerial production perspective, specifically, the environmental impact of producing materialsused in a HP C4127X toner cartridge.Table 2. Material Composition of HP C4127X (Berglind and Eriksson, 2002)Table 2 is the material composition of the HP C4127X, excluding the toner powder, butthe cartridge packaging is included in this table. The major weight components are made of steel,polystyrene and corrugated board. The shipping weight is listed as 4.4lbs, which is about 2 kg.The total weight of the cartridge is roughly 1.5 kg, discounting the packaging, the toner itselfonly accounts for about ⅓ the weight of the product. The corrugated board is used for packagingand mostly made from recycled materials. The steel components, which often are the movingparts, are also durable for use for several cycles.The polystyrene, which would be the casing, ismostly reusable in subsequent remanufactured cartridges, which will be a major focus on thispaper.8When a cartridge is discarded, all of its composition is discarded and new materials haveto be produced to replace them, so it is worthwhile to study the impact of producing thesematerials first. Recycle scenario are not discussed, but both plastic and metal recycling consumesignificant amount of energy.(Cambridge University,2008)For High Impact Polystyrene, producing 450g of resins alone will need 313.65g of crudeoil and 186.75g of natural gas as raw material, and uses 18.86MJ of energy and produces140.85g of CO2 emission (FRANKLIN ASSOCIATES, 2011). The CO2 emission figures of theplastic are from the process of creation only. About 14% of the energy required come from theelectrical grid. A black coal power plant on average produces about 900 kg Co2/ MWh, whichtranslates into about 658g for our cartridge, but this is the worst case scenario. To produce 388gof steel, 6.3 MJ of energy is used and 720g of CO2 is emitted, using recycled steel cuts thisfigure by ¼.While the aluminum accounts for only 76.68g, it is worth noting the energy cost ofprimary aluminum product is 175 MJ /kg (Cambridge University,2008) .On top of the material production costs outline here, there also additional material costand energy related to manufacturing and transportation. On average, producing a new cartridgeproduces about 4.4 kg of CO2 emissions, compared to 1.8 kg of CO2 emission ofremanufacturing the cartridge, a potential 2.5 kg of CO2 emission is reduced (Best FootForward). If we take into account the number of cartridge going into the landfills, this becomesan alarming amount. If half of the cartridges went into landfills were remanufactured instead, weare reducing 437.5 million kg of CO2 emission, which is equivalent to the emission of about 3.9billion kilometer of driving on a 25 mpg vehicle or almost 70% of Greenland’s total carbon9emission for 2010.(BC Sustainable Energy)(United Nations, 2013) If a average cartridge weightabout 0.5-1 kg, huge amounts of reusable materials are being sent to landfills. In which theplastic takes hundreds of years to deteriorate due to its low biodegradability while releasinggreenhouse gases and chemicals into the environment at the same time.(Styrosolution, 2012)While there are significant environmental impact for producing toner cartridges, theusage phase of the printing process is where the majority of energy costs occurs. Roughly 90%of the environmental impact relating to printing occurs during the usage phase, accounting forboth the energy cost of operation and the material costs of paper (Four Elements Consulting,2008). Based on this, HP claims that using remanufactured cartridge actually costs moreenvironmentally to use. HP’s supporting argument stems from roughly 40% unacceptableproduct from remanufacture cartridges. Looking into HP’s supporting studies, a divergingquality about remanufactured toner cartridges is observed (QualityLogic, 2010). In using lowquality cartridges that were simply refilled without inspection does produce high failure rate assuggested, which, as HP suggested, incurs more environmental impact in the form of waste paperand energy usage. Since toner cartridge remanufacturing is a relatively new industry and largelyunregulated, it is important to choose reliable products to have a positive environmental impactwith using remanufactured cartridges. Details about reliability are discussed in the social section.104.0 SOCIAL IMPACTThe concept of remanufactured toner cartridges may not always have been presented as aviable alternative to the OEM option. Some of this is due to misconception about poorlypresented and well-advertised marketing of large OEMs, or simply through a lack of knowledgeof the subject at hand.One of the main impacts on consumers are the social barriers that hinder the purchase ofRemanufactured toner cartridges. A strong media presence highlighting some negative featuresmay be enough to persuade a potential customer. Unfortunately, most of the information hasbeen misinformed and misinterpreted by the public.One such common misconception is the idea that Remanufactured toner cartridgesproduce a lower print quality. HP released an information booklet that explained why aremanufactured cartridge will provide poorer print quality (Debunking RemanufacturedCartridges, 2010). Another similar claim is made that Remanufactured cartridges are not asreliable and may cause leaking toner (Debunking Remanufactured Cartridges, 2010). It shouldbe noted though as we analyze the credibility of the claims put forth by HP that all the citationscited in the article are all internal documents to HP and refer to studies that were conductedinside the company. The information presented may still be valid, but without an unbiased thirdparty involved in the investigation, we must be careful with the conclusions we gather from thisinformation. Nevertheless, other studies show that the symptoms described above are indeedpossible but are usually the result of a poor quality control process within the remanufacturecompany (Yamin-Garone, 2013). For example, a remanufactured cartridge may in fact produce11a lower print quality, but this is usually due to a poor quality toner being refilled. If theremanufacturer used a high quality toner then the print quality should be at least comparable tothe product produced by the OEM. Also, when a cartridge starts leaving ‘vertical lines’ on theprinted result it is a sign that there is a scratch on the drum. A scratched drum should beidentified by the remanufacturer and replaced (Digitech Superior Performance Plan, 2013). Aleaking cartridge is usually attributed to a cartridge being overfilled (Debunking RemanufacturedCartridges, 2010; Digitech FAQ, 2013). It is an indicator of their internal quality.Another misconception about remanufactured cartridges is that it will void the warranty ofthe printer if a remanufactured cartridge is used. According to HP’s website, a differentcartridge cannot in any way void the warranty of the printer (HP Use of Non-HP Print Cartridges,2013). Again, we see that the quality process of the remanufacturer has the largest impact on theperformance of the cartridge and not the remanufacturing process itself. That is why it isimportant that the remanufacturer is able to present some assurance of their quality control suchas ISO certification (Yamin-Garone, 2013). If the remanufacturer properly services the cartridgeaccording to its specifications, there is no reason to suggest that it will perform significantlydifferent than its OEM alternative.It should also be important that the remanufacturing process is beneficial to society andthat these process channels will not cause inconvenience to the customer. The remanufacturerwill usually operate locally so as to be closer to their customer base. Some companies will evenprovide free delivery and pickup of the cartridges to their customers with no minimum order orpick up (Digitech FAQ, 2013; Digitech Next Day Delivery, 2013). In this case, the customer can12be assured that they will not have to make another inconvenient trip to pick up a cartridge orprovide shipping for the empty cartridge to be assured that the most environmentally sustainableaction is being taken.The customer can also be assured that since the remanufacturer operates locally, that insupporting them will provide local economic stimulation and involved in the local charities thatare also important to the customer. When a local company is able to operate locally in such aconsumer driven market where price is the main indicator in making a purchase, every citizenshould take pride and make a reasonable effort to support them in building the localcommunities. In supporting such a company, the customer can know that a better society isbeing developed.We believe then that the main reason for the unawareness within the public to accept theremanufactured cartridge as a sustainable alternative is a general lack of knowledge. Also,marketing of large OEM firms may have negatively affected the public’s opinion.135.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONSBy comparing the price of remanufactured toner cartridges and OEM toner cartridges, itclearly shows that most likely remanufactured toner cartridges are thirty to sixty percent cheaperthan OEM ones. The financial benefits of remanufactured toner cartridges are quite obvious interms of the cost of maintenance, parts, recycling programs and lifespans. Increasing thepurchase volume on remanufactured toner cartridges could save UBC faculties quite a bit moneyevery year.It is often difficult to qualify why the consumer base is hesitant to purchasingremanufactured toner cartridges. We believed that the main reason for this is that in general, thepublic are unaware of the sustainable positive attributes of remanufacturing, or have beenmisinformed through marketing strategies of large OEMs.The environmental impact of producing the plastic and steel required for a HP C4127Xcartridge is found to be about 1.5 kg of CO2 emission, 25.16 MJ of energy and about 500g offossil fuel as raw material input for the plastic. With this figure, we assumed on average 2.5 kgof CO2 emission is saved when a remanufactured cartridge is used instead of OEM. We alsoconcluded that reliability of the cartridge is also important to lessen the overall environmentalimpact of printing in general.146.0 REFERENCES1. FRANKLIN ASSOCIATES, A DIVISION OF EASTERN RESEARCH GROUP, INC.(2011),CRADLE-TO-GATE LIFE CYCLE INVENTORY OF NINE PLASTIC RESINS AND FOURPOLYURETHANE PRECURSORS[electronic version]From:http://plastics.americanchemistry.com/LifeCycle-Inventory-of-9-Plastics-Resins-and-4-Polyurethane-Precursors-Rpt-and-App2. Jonas Berglind & Henric Eriksson (2002),Life Cycle Assessment of Toner Cartridge HPC4127X[electronic version], From:http://www.etira.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/LCA-Kalmar-Univ.pdf3. Best Foot Forward,The carbon footprint of remanufactured versus new mono-toner printercartridge,Fromhttp://www.remanufacturing.org.uk/pdf/the_carbon_footprint_of_remanufacturing_printer_cartridges.pdf4.Lenzen, M. (2008) Life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions of nuclear energy: Areview. Energy Conversion and Management 49, 2178-2199.[electronic version],From:http://www.isa.org.usyd.edu.au/publications/documents/ISA_Nuclear_Report.pdf5. BC Sustainable Energy,Calculate Your Carbon Footprint, Accessed November, 2013 on:http://www.bcsea.org/solutions/citizens-and-homeowners/calculate-your-carbon-footprint156. Cambridge University (2008),Steel and aluminium facts,From:http://www.lcmp.eng.cam.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/W1-Steel-and-aluminium-facts.pdf7. Four Elements Consulting, LLC (2008), LaserJet Cartridge Life Cycle Environmental ImpactComparison Refresh Study:HP LaserJet 10A Print Cartridge vs. Remanufactured Brands inEurope,From:http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/globalcitizenship/environment/productdesign/suppliesLCA_EMEA.pdf8.Xerox Corporation (2010), Xerox Green World Alliance: Managing supplies responsibly,Accessed on November 2013 on:http://www.xerox.ca/digital-printing/latest/GWAFL-01UA.pdf9. Digitech Laser. Online catalogue. From:http://www.digitechlaser.com/online-catalogue10. University of Wisconsin Madison (2012),Graph of Price Comparison of Most FrequentlyPurchased New Toner vs. Remanufactured Toner. Purchasing services. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved from:http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/purch/HowToBuy/toner.html11. City of Toronto administration committee review and evaluation on using remanufacturedtoner cartridges after one year's time (2006, May 15th), From:http://www.sistekdata.com/59_Savings.pdf1612. Hewitt-Packard. (2010). Debunking Remanufactured Toner Cartridge Myths. Retrievedfrom http://www.hpdealerinfo.com/images/custom/RemanMyths.pdf13. Digitech. (2013). Superior Performance Plan. Retrieved fromhttp://www.digitechlaser.com/services/superior-performance-plan14. Digitech. (2013). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved fromhttp://www.digitechlaser.com/about-us/faqs15. Hewitt-Packard. (2013). HP LaserJet and Color LaserJet Printer Families – Use of Non-HP Print Cartridges. Retrieved fromhttp://h20566.www2.hp.com/portal/site/hpsc/template.PAGE/public/kb/docDisplay/?javax.portlet.prp_ba847bafb2a2d782fcbb0710b053ce01=wsrp-navigationalState%3DdocId%253Demr_na-bpl03766-&javax.portlet.tpst=ba847bafb2a2d782fcbb0710b053ce01&ac.admitted=1385581686297.876444892.19948014316. Yamin-Garone, Mary. (2013). The Truth about Remanufactured Ink Cartridges. Retrievedfrom http://discount-ink-cartridges-stores-review.toptenreviews.com/the-truth-about-remanufactured-ink-cartridges.html1717. Digitech. (2013). Next Day Delivery. Retrieved fromhttp://www.digitechlaser.com/services/next-day-delivery18. Toner Giant, Cartridge Recycling Factshttp://visual.ly/shocking-statistics-about-printer-cartridge-recycling19. Styrosolution (2012). Material Safety Data Sheet For High Impact PolyStyrene [electronicversion]From:http://www.styrolution.net/wa/steu~it_IT/function/conversions:/publish/content/products/styrenics/downloads/EU_Final_SDS_HIPS_060412.pdf20. United Nations(2013), Millenium Development Goal Indicators, accessedNovember, 2013 on: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/SeriesDetail.aspx?srid=749&crid=21. QualityLogic (2010), Reliability Comparison Study HP LaserJet Print Cartridges vs Non HPToner Cartridges, accessed on November 2013on:http://www.qualitylogic.com/EMEAmonotonertest.pdf


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