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Soy-Based Toner Cartridges? 389

Posted by kdawson
from the it's-green-they-say-on-the-far-side-of-the-hill dept.
Jon.Laslow writes "I'm getting a lot of pressure from managers to switch to soy-based toner cartridges for our laser printers because they are 'greener.' The problem is, the only information I can find on them is from sales pitches; and the reviews all seem to be user testimonials. Do you have any experience soy-based printing products? Did you have any issues with them, and how was the print quality?"
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Soy-Based Toner Cartridges?

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  • Buy one... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:03AM (#27826693)

    ...and let us know.

    • by jerryasher (151512) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:10AM (#27827737)

      People!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        That movie never made any sense to me. If the only food supply is people, how long can a society last? A human body would feed you for maybe one week. Then what do you use to survive?

        The Matrix has a similar flaw

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RockDoctor (15477)

          That movie never made any sense to me.

          The movie is a second or third-level derivative. Look at the original short story by IIRC Harry Harrison (entitled "Roommates" according to Wikipedia, though I'm quite sure that I read it under the next title) ; some years later Harrison expanded the short story into a novel and called it "Make Room!, Make Room!" ; I'm not clear on whether the novel formed the basis for the screenplay, or whether both were developed in parallel (this is about the time that "2001" underw

  • new to me (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:04AM (#27826701) Homepage Journal

    To be honest, I hadn't even heard of this. This article [rechargermag.com] says the very first cartridges just became available at the end of last year. Amazon has them [amazon.com] but it looks they all come from one company (the one mentioned in the article I linked) and I couldn't find any reviews or comments. I did notice that as far as I can tell they are the only company selling soy based toner cartridges and they only sell them for HP right now - though I guess they plan to add others in the future. That may solve your issue right there though, unless you own the right printers.
     
    Interestingly enough the link in TFA doesn't seem to point to a company that does anything other than refurbish and refill toner cartridges with regular toner. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see a thing about soy based toner. I'm sure someone will point me in the right direction on that if I'm mistaken.
     
    So I'd be interested as well in hearing if anyone has actually used this yet, but unless it has been an immediate disaster it doesn't seem that enough time has passed to tell how well it is going to work.

    • Ad absurdium (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:56AM (#27827073) Journal

      Let me get this straight...

      You build an extremely precise little box out of highly refined metals, circuit boards and PCBs, manufactured from parts made all around the world before being shipped thousands of miles to your local Staples, and you're worried about the half ounce of INK!?!?!

      That's like cuttng calories by skipping the cherry on your triple scoop ice cream sundae!

      Want to go green? Use CFLs. Replace your shower heads. Bike to work. Email instead of printing. Open windows rather than hit the thermostat. Use GotoMeeting rather than fly. Plant some trees on the South side of your home and office buildings. Buy your food from a local Farmer's Market rather than the mega-mart to avoid 'fresh' food from Argentina or some other place 4,000 miles away in refrigerated containers.

      When the ink jet containers themselves are made of soy, and the mfgs standardize their cartridges so that reuse is more feasible, I'll take notice. Otherwise, this flavor of 'green' is idotic.

      Buy Soy ink because it's better, lasts longer, or is cheaper and don't delude yourself with false green.

      • Re:Ad absurdium (Score:5, Informative)

        by value_added (719364) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:25AM (#27827225)

        Want to go green? ... [snip list of recommendations that don't relate to the computer industry] ... When the ink jet containers themselves are made of soy, and the mfgs standardize their cartridges so that reuse is more feasible, I'll take notice.

        I'd offer the suggestion that increased attention on the part of consumers and manufacturers to the polluting nature of manufacturing computer parts (and petroleum products in general) is a step in the right direction. Or do you really think we can get somewhere without taking one step at a time?

        Anything that's used by individuals in small quantities may be insignificant, but taken as a whole, there's probably a incredibly large number behind the quantity that's manufactured. And then dump in our water or land.

        I'm no green nut, but seriously, loosen up. Soy ink? Why the hell not? The newspaper industry adopted it years ago, and while the formulation isn't exactly 100% natural, it was a step in the right direction.

        • Re:Ad absurdium (Score:5, Informative)

          by dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:25AM (#27828497)

          Soy ink? Why the hell not?

          Tackle the biggest issues first, the smaller issues become the biggest.

          For my personal context that means: car (100), heating (73), electricity (26), exotic food imports (3)...

          My next car will have about 25% more fuel efficiency, and if I drive 20% less distance I will bring the weighted score for my car to 60. Or a 20% improvement of my energy consumption (40/(100+73+26))

          Now, what would be the effect if I was planning on how to buy more environmental friendly toiletpaper? 0.001 points (haven't got any actual data to back that up), but worse, I would be side tracked and not tackle things that have a big impact.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I think the real backlash a lot of people have is that a lot of "environmental" stuff is information from marketers, not engineers. We don't want to be told "use this, it's better". We want to see the analysis, what could have been done differently, and see that the company chose the best option (most bang for the buck). And we get mad when the decisions don't make sense (for the consumer).

          Example: company could ship only high-capacity toner cartridges, rather than half-size "starter" packs, at a minimal

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @09:54AM (#27829987) Homepage

          Actually I think we can get farther by taking an angry mob and beating with sacks of potatoes and doorknobs every manager and yuppie that talks about "being green" and suggests stupid non green ways. Soap in a sock works great as well.

          Anyone at your office is against telecommuting? beat the shit out of them. They driving a hybrid instead of using real Green alternatives? Beat the shit out of them. a fully window office is wasted for the exeutive that is never there? Beat the shit out of him. Continue until they are crying and hiding under their desks, or actually get a clue.

        • by EgoWumpus (638704) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @10:25AM (#27830479)

          Or do you really think we can get somewhere without taking one step at a time?

          Actually, most geeks are under the faith-based assumption that at some point, this is entirely possible. That Transporter Pads or Jump Drives or simple Teleportation is merely a question of time. It is so inculcated our geek culture that certain things will simply come easy once the elegant solution appears, as if by magic. Further, I think it affects how we view most problems.

          Take environmentalism. Clearly the solution is greener products; things that will fit into a sustainable economy. But it's a binary clause; if your entire product can be green, then it should be. Otherwise, who are you fooling!? There is no sense of bootstrapping, of having to replace pieces as you can.

          The subset of the culture that subscribes heavily to this stance tends to be against refactoring code, and for simply writing programs wholesale by themselves in their attic. They're against good test procedures and using older technologies because they're not shiny enough. Ironically, they're also the sorts who probably haven't written their own libraries - or even approached the idea. They buy most of their stuff, because whatever their realm of expertise, it's limited in scope. Fix plumbing? Hell no! Drill something, or saw something? What is the point - something you pay for is clearly going to be better, and in the end that arbitrary sense of idealistic quality is all that matters.

          I hope that as we move forward we get more geeks like you, value_added, who recognize that it's not about suddenly being in Nirvana. It's about constantly changing the little bits that are pain points once any better solution becomes available, rather than holding out for some mythical day brought about in some opaque fashion wherein everything is just right of it's own accord.

          In the end it's simple economics; the time-value of progress suggests that a little 'money' or 'value' now, and a little later, and a little later will yield a total greater value than a simple lump sum at the end.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by twilightzero (244291)

        You are obviously an idiot. Allow me dissect:

        You build an extremely precise little box out of highly refined metals, circuit boards and PCBs, manufactured from parts made all around the world before being shipped thousands of miles to your local Staples, and you're worried about the half ounce of INK!?!?!

        You didn't read the parent, or if you did you didn't actually understand the question. INK DOES NOT EQUAL TONER. Get it through your head. One would expect someone reading Slashdot to know this, but apparently that's what I get for assuming. Toner cartridges for laser printers print thousands of sheets if not tens of thousands of sheets per refill. Quickest way to have an office budget go haywire is to have all printing done on inkjet, which is why it isn't

        • Re:Ad absurdium (Score:4, Informative)

          by wwahammy (765566) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:12AM (#27827471)
          Low flow shower heads help reduce the amount of hot water used in particular, not just plain old tap water. No matter where you live you're going to use some resources, usually fossil fuel based, to heat that water. Just because you have tons of rainwater, doesn't mean you/the environment won't benefit from your use of low-flow shower heads.
        • Re:Ad absurdium (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rob Kaper (5960) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:07AM (#27827727) Homepage

          Mercury that one broken bulb can raise airborne mercury levels in your house to above safe levels.

          Light bulbs don't break during normal operation, let alone CFLs which are made of much sturdier glass. Unless you play your baseball indoors you probably have better things to worry about.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by aaaantoine (1540357)
            I accidentally dropped a CFL and it broke. We ventilated the room as recommended. That was several months ago, and I'm no worse tapobiuplktpu arubpot apbuptlwer apo8utplb 2q98u paiutba;ltughg;uahnb for it.
        • Re:Ad absurdium (Score:5, Informative)

          by MojoRilla (591502) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @08:48AM (#27829103)
          That is an urban myth. CFL's do require special cleanup, but is is a pretty simple process. See Snopes [snopes.com] for more information.

          According to the EPA [energystar.gov], the amount of mercury released into the atmosphere every year is 104 metric tons, mostly created by coal fired power plants. Since most of the mercury is bound to the CFL bulb as it is used, even if every CFL that was sold in 2007 (290 million bulbs) were sent to landfill, it would only release .16 metric tons of mercury, or raise the US yearly amount by 0.16 %.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by SlashWombat (1227578)
        What could be more carbon neutral than the CARBON toner already in the cartridge? Why would SOY based toner be any greener?

        Have I missed something here? Soy is the vegetarian meat, but as such is no greener than other forms of carbon. (Or is toner made from fried/burnt animals ...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        When the ink jet containers themselves are made of soy, and the mfgs standardize their cartridges so that reuse is more feasible,

        Most laser carts are eminently refillable, which is why there's a whole industry based on it.

        It behooves you to purchase a laser printer with carts known to be refillable, and if you didn't do this you made a poor purchasing decision (color lasers are exempt from this statement.)

        Toner is one of the most toxic things in your office, and it releases horrible nasty shit when it is fused. If a Soy-based product were substantially better in this regard, that might be sufficient justification to switch.

  • by freaker_TuC (7632) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:08AM (#27826731) Homepage Journal

    So, basically, they could create lickable sheets with that process? ... Makes the Rolling Stones tongue [991.com] suddenly look completely different ...

  • Did you search? (Score:3, Informative)

    by SigNuZX728 (635311) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:08AM (#27826733)
    On the first page of a google search for "soy-based laser toner" is a link to a Chicago Tribune article dated April 22. Check that out.
  • The good news is that if you run out of creamer you can just toss some soy-toner in there, virtually the same thing.

  • Be Green (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:13AM (#27826779)

    Soy Ink? What a freaking joke! The total octopi, or whatever they get ink from, saved by Soy Ink, is truly insignificant.

    If your company wants to be green, they need to buy recycled paper, or buy a sustainable forest, or replace all that horrid grass outside with natural prairie and woods.

    When are people going to get that using "green" products is still producing consumer waste, and that if you want to truly make an impact, you need to ride your bike sometimes, or something!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you want green and soy, nothing beats soylent green.

    • Re:Be Green (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:39AM (#27826963) Journal
      Most toner is made from oil: it takes about 1 million barrels of oil to supply the US with toner for a year. This is less than .1% of the oil the country uses. Obviously not a huge deal from that perspective.

      Soy toner has two things really going for it: first is, it's easier (ie cheaper) to recycle. Paper with soy toner is easier to recycle. Second, the cost is about the same as normal toner.

      I haven't actually seen it in use, so I can't say what it will look like, but if the quality is equivalent to that of carbon based toner, then there is no reason not to use it, and a few small reasons TO use it.
      • Re:Be Green (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Fred_A (10934) <fred&fredshome,org> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:54AM (#27827055) Homepage

        So all that's left is "how does it hold in front of humidity" ?

        This is a major advantage of laser printing vs. a number of inkjets. Does soy make a difference ?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by anagama (611277)

        I haven't actually seen it in use, so I can't say what it will look like, but if the quality is equivalent to that of carbon based toner, then there is no reason not to use it, and a few small reasons TO use it.

        It is not inconceivable that soy toner would be less green when you figure in the energy costs of farming, the fact that stripped earth grawing a monocrop is far less effective at absorbing carbon than forest or grassland, the fact that fertilizer is made from natural gas, fact that the soy is like

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        No, it isn't. Most toner has two major components: the pigment (which is often kept secret), and the binder. The drum is highly charged; the places where the toner is supposed to go are traced by the laser, which neutralizes the charge in those places. Then an opposite charge is applied, which deposits the toner on the paper electrostatically. Finally, the paper passes over the fuser (that hot roller at the end of the process), which melts the binder and permanently fuses it to the paper.

        The pigment is
      • Re:Be Green (Score:5, Interesting)

        by codeButcher (223668) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:49AM (#27827631)
        To put it a little bit simpler: paper with soy-based ink goes onto my compost [wikipedia.org] pile or into my worm farm [wikipedia.org]. Paper with other or unknown ink goes into the municipal garbage landfill ("not my problem") since my worms seem to sometimes misteriously die from it.
    • Mr. President you ought to know by now nobody is going to do that. The green economy is about feeling like you care without actually doing anything. It's about keeping your margins up and your expenses low.

      Marketing!

    • Re:Be Green (Score:5, Funny)

      by plover (150551) * on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:47AM (#27827003) Homepage Journal

      That's right! If you want it to be "green", you have to use Organically Grown Soy so those horrible GMOs won't, uh, get on your paper and ... uh ... club the baby seals ... umm ...

      Damn! Lost my place in the chapter about soy in my copy of "Liberal Rants for All Occasions." If only it wasn't printed on hemp paper, maybe we wouldn't have smoked the table of contents.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Orlando (12257)

      Em, or stop printing.

  • by adavies42 (746183) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:14AM (#27826791)
    Use rice paper, then you can eat any extra printouts.
  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:18AM (#27826819) Journal

    Soy based toner cartridges are probably ok, but I'd want to see the nutritional composition clearly labeled so we can compare the carbohydrate content with other equipment, such as our roughage-based fax machine.

    I think the Ford Model T had Bakelite components, which were made from processed soy protein. But relatively few owners took them apart and shook the components to get more mileage, iirc.

  • they suck... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:21AM (#27826847)

    initial printouts were as dark as conventional toners. they did not match the darkness of original oem carts but were ok with our HP remanufactured carts in quality with oem toner.
    after 3-4 weeks we started to see fade. think thermal fax machine fading type fade. they dont last long with UV light exposure (basically sunlight hitting the laser printout). we've since stopped using em.
    YMMV.

    • Re:they suck... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:34AM (#27826935)

      BTW, we got ours from :
      http://www.lasermonksgreen.com/ [lasermonksgreen.com]
      as noted in the FAQ the ink is easier to de-ink and recycle (cuz it comes off the paper easier) and yield is more since less ink sticks to the paper due to the high heat ability of soy inks. for temporary printing this is great. for offices - ok for some, not ok for others.
      see here :
      http://www.lasermonksgreen.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=66 [lasermonksgreen.com]
      #
      Simpler and less capital intensive in the de-inking process (recycling)
      #
      Higher yield - for many of the toner cartridges, soy ink yields 10% more pages

      HTH.

    • by cheros (223479) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:45AM (#27827321)

      That is two solutions in one:

      1 - any report becomes invisible after a while. I bet Arthur Andersen would have paid a fortune for that feature alone. Besides, anything thicker than an 1 inch when printed is redundant the moment it's sent to the print queue (I just made that up, but feels about right in my experience :-).

      2 - the paper can be recycled. Maybe not as printer paper, but scrap. And folded paper planes look much nicer without print on them, I just don't know what soy toner does to the aero dynamics. I suggest a week long study to find out.

      On the serious side, thanks. Fade is a feature worth avoiding..

  • by psicop (229507)

    I don't know about the print quality, but switching to rice paper made for a delicious combination.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by macraig (621737)

      Soylent toner is made from the dessicated bodies of people stupid enough to have been suckered into buying soy-based toner.

  • by asifyoucare (302582) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:22AM (#27826861)

    I've heard that baby seal blood toner is better.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:28AM (#27826891) Journal
    If managers are discussing this with you and you're following up, you're doing your job wrong. Deflect the question: mention that really the carbon wasted from one cartridge is really no more than used by running the computers for a week in a year, which is essentially equivalent to 2.5 Volkswagens per library of congress. Use units they understand. Then suggest they compensate by turning of the computers for one day a week, and really there's no reason to leave the lights on either. Yes we can help the environment. Change. Paradigm. Use words they understand.

    In fact, might as well let the workers stay home. It will boost morale and help the environment. Win win. They will leave with a confused look that means you can get back to your game of nethack.

    Either that, or use it as an excuse to surf to slashdot during work hours. Which it appears is what you did.
  • by wisenboi (1154441) * <frank.marcelli@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:29AM (#27826901)
    From what I've read, soy-based printer toner/ink isn't that much different. The quality is likely to be less rich (especially for high end prints of brochures on regular paper) but otherwise there shouldn't be too much of a difference.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... don't replace the toner cartridge at all, and save toner, paper, power, and the manufacturing and disposal costs of the printer. If the managers really want to be green, they can avoid producing all that paperwork.

  • by ghinckley68 (590599) <sd@glenhinckley.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:34AM (#27826927) Homepage

    The drum is made of selenium that usually winds in land fills. They make ozone like crazy and when we are done with them we toss them out. Soy based toner totally pointless.

    Nope nothing green here move along.

     

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032)

      The drum is made of selenium that usually winds in land fills.

      I suspect that someday, people will be using those landfills as a high-grade ore for all kinds of metals.

      -jcr

    • The amount is minute (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @05:40AM (#27828071)
      I agree with your sentiment, but in fact the drum is coated with a thin layer that contains a small amount of selenium. Did you know that in many parts of the world poor soils have to be treated with traces of selenium because it is needed for plant growth?

      The selenium isn't the issue, just as the trace of mercury in CFLs isn't the issue, it's the wastefulness of putting the whole, nonbiodegradable thing into landfills.

  • by klossner (733867) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:34AM (#27826929)
    Standard laser-printer toner is made up of tiny specs of carbon black and plastic. When you print with this toner, you're fixing carbon onto paper. Point out how green this is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cjfs (1253208)

      Standard laser-printer toner is made up of tiny specs of carbon black and plastic. When you print with this toner, you're fixing carbon onto paper. Point out how green this is.

      So that's how they make carbon credits!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will your documents be readable in 1 year, 5, 15? What about regularly handled documents in binders in humid environments- does it imprint the opposite page or rub off?

    These seem like the prudent questions to be asking.

  • You gotta RTFA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:44AM (#27826995)

    Those user testimonials are great! I like how all their users synchronized their postings! There are 3 on June 2nd from 11:32 to 11:34, 1 on June 5th, and 5 from June 20th from 12:30 to 12:31.

    Hilarious...

    • What's better is that they aren't talking about soy based toner - just a company that refills toner cartridges.

  • Wrong attitude! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by russsell (185151) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:53AM (#27827043)

    Why are you resisting pressure from managers? The more you push one way, the more they'll push back.

    A far better approach to managing your managerial stakeholders is to say "Hey, that's a great idea! Let's do an experiment... let's change your cartridges to soy for a few months and see how they go!"

    This way even if they don't work, you're seen as a listener rather than a roadblock.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by profplump (309017)
      Or you're seen as the guy who switched us to these terrible new "green" toners that don't print decently and make our external communications look second-rate.

      You're assuming that his managers will take responsibility if their project fails; while that's certainly possible I wouldn't count on it, particularly if your goal is to ingratiate yourself with those managers.
  • by stms (1132653) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:01AM (#27827101)
    If you print a lot of green shit. Otherwise I would recommend that you buy cartridges with normal amounts of each color.
  • by jovius (974690) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:27AM (#27827231)
    Soy doesn't necessarily make the product green. Where is the soy produced, is it genetically modified, what's the carbon imprint of the whole product? How much processing does the soy need to become ink-like, and what chemicals are used along the way?

    It might be cool to have soy based toner in your printer, but the overall damage to the environment may be wider and larger. A lot of companies greenwash their products in order to widen their customer base.

    The Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] article seems to have some answers. Moving away from petroleum is an advantage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You make a good point, even though toner is not at all like ink. The black in toner generally comes from carbon, and in order to make soy really black I think you pretty much have to burn it down until it is little more than carbon.

      So what's really the point?

      Soy-based newspaper ink makes some sense, because it is basically made from soy and vegetable oil, making it renewable and demonstrably non-toxic. But where does the carbon in regular toners come from? Possibly even soy, since it is cheap... but t
  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:37AM (#27827575)
    The biggest single difference you can make is to use the right technology. The most environmentally offensive laser printers use integral drum and toner combinations, with older HP machines being the worst of all - the cartridge is a large, heavy metal and plastic box that in theory is thrown away after a few thousand pages, and the toner is insignificant. As a simple example, I measured the contents of an 8000 page cartridge of an old machine once. The cartridge weighed about 1kg, and contained 150g of toner. Newer HPs still have the integral unit, but print perhaps 19-30000 pages on it, which is much better. On my current printer (not HP), the total weight of material that goes through the machine to print 18000 pages is less than that.

    You can improve on this dismal performance by getting a commercial recycling company to refill old cartridges for you, but after a couple of refills the drum is no longer as good as it was, and print quality starts to deteriorate (on the other hand, one drum may be able to print perhaps 50-60000 report printouts or similar.)

    Many of the more heavy duty printers use separate toner tanks and drums. This is far more effective at the expense of requiring an IQ in excess of 100 to replace toner. The drum unit may last from around 20000 pages on smaller machines to, say, several hundred thousand on a Kyocera. In Xerox printers I've looked at, the actual toner may account for more than half of the toner tank mass.

    Quite simply the best and most effective way to make your printing less environmentally offensive is to go over the entire estate, identify the older machines that use heavy cartridges with a short life, and scrap them. (this will piss off middle managers who probably have them on their desks, but then they wanted it in the first place.) Then do a little homework on actual needs and replace them with something more cost effective. Replacing individual printers with workgroup printers shared among 5-15 people (based on their workload) reduces the carbon footprint per page printed for more than anything else, and tinkering with toner won't be significant in comparison.

  • Hmmm, sushi (Score:4, Funny)

    by daveime (1253762) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:26AM (#27827823)

    And the beauty is, if a cartridge springs a leak, you can always use the ink to dip your sushi in.

  • by ewe2 (47163) <[ewetoo] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:57AM (#27827919) Homepage Journal

    Recycling the whole consumable is possible: http://www.closetheloopusa.com/ [closetheloopusa.com] actually uses toner to make a wood substitute among other things. They have agreements with many of the printer manufacturers. The aim is zero waste to landfill, and eventually to make printer/photocopier consumables totally recyclable in the sense of returning the materials back to their manufacturers.

  • Uncle Bob. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @05:03AM (#27827947)
    Do you remember the scene in Terminator 2, where young John Connor is speaking with his cyborg protector in Mexico, and they look over to see two kids playing a shoot-em-up game with guns? John says, after a flash of pessimistic insight, "We're not going to make it, are we? Humanity, I mean?" (I'm paraphrasing from memory).

    This slashdot posting really evoked similar feelings in me. Pressure from managers to switch to soy-based toners, in an attempt to be greener. There is no world in which this is reasonable. If we are headed for ecological destruction, this obviously will do nothing to ameliorate the result; it's meaningless feel good tripe. If the ecological Armageddon isn't coming, this sort of in-efficiency for the sake of PR and... well, feel good tripe will ruin the economy, and is a good example of the tortuous lack of sense that will haunt us until our death. We, humanity as a whole, seem incapable of approaching any significant rationally. Like John Connor, suddenly fear we aren't going to make it.
  • by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @06:52AM (#27828361)

    There are plenty of steps that should be prioritized over soy-based ink:

    • Your server room can run at a hotter temperature, without increasing failure rates [datacenterknowledge.com]. Set it to the max of what is comfortable to work in.
    • You can probably virtualize quite a physical few servers out of existence.
    • When/if your offices are air conditioned, make sure you use energy-efficient lighting, turn off workstations overnight etc etc.
    • Make sure there are enough bike-racks outside the office.
    • Provide a shower for those that want to bike/run/rollerblade to the office.
    • Make sure the office heating system adjusts temperature overnight.

    Once these steps are done (the company will profit from most of them), feel free to consider soy-based toner cartridges.

  • Eh... (Score:3, Informative)

    by chazzf (188092) <cfulton.deepthought@org> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @06:55AM (#27828367) Homepage Journal
    We tried this at my workplace and initial print quality seemed okay but the price was prohibitive compared to any perceived benefit. We didn't use them long enough to encounter any printout degradation like the anon above reported. A much better approach is to reduce printing overall to save paper.
  • by Adeptus_Luminati (634274) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @10:26AM (#27830503)

    Have your managers watch "The Future of Food" (google it), and how thousands of North American farms are forced to grow genetically modified Soy crops instead of natural and varied food/plant species and they may realize that while it's greener, it's not necessarily the most moral or genetically diverse thing to be doing.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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