• Epson zaps lasers into oblivion, in the name of the environment

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    Inkjet is the future, claims Japanese printer maker

    Japanese electronics and printer maker Epson announced this month that it will end the sale and distribution of laser printer hardware by 2026, citing sustainability issues.

    According to the company, inkjets have a “greater potential” than laser printers to make “meaningful advances” when it comes to the environment…

    “Our printing business will from now put the focus on inkjet,” added Kubota. A 2019 Epson blog post claimed its inkjets consume 85 percent less energy than similar-speed laser printers.

    They also produce up to 85 percent less carbon dioxide, apparently equating to the absorption capacity of six cedar trees for a laser, compared to one for an inkjet.

    The inkjets also have up to 59 percent fewer replaceable components – just the ink and waste ink box, compared to lasers that must have toner, drum, developer and fusers replaced regularly…

    * I am very satisfied with my Samsung CLX-3185FN color AIO laser printer while my partner love her Epson ET-2720 with ink tank units.

    * Ink is worth more than gold so the announcement is reasonable from Epson’s point of view.

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    • #2502043

      The inkjets also have up to 59 percent fewer replaceable components – just the ink and waste ink box, compared to lasers that must have toner, drum, developer and fusers replaced regularly…

      Epson, my Canon laser printer is 9 years old. I found the email receipt from when I ordered it… December 2013, for $78 (the unit has a scanner also). Now, all this time later, it still has all the original parts and consumables, including the toner cartridge. The only thing I have replaced is the paper. It works as well as when it was new!

      I bought the laser because I tired of having to purchase new inkjet cartridges every time I wanted to print something. I don’t print that much, quite evidently, but occasionally I do need a hardcopy of something, and my experience with inkjets has been that when I need to print, the cartridge has invariably dried out and clogged and is no longer serviceable. I’ve never been able to bring one of them back to life, not with water or isopropyl alcohol, not even by taking it to Walgreens and having them try to reink it.

      You wanna talk about having to replace things regularly? I was replacing the ink cartridges at least once a year. That would have been at least eight replacement cartridges (it came with the first one) by now, compared to my having to replace nothing with my laser.

      You want to talk about the energy cost? I don’t print very often, so the impact on my energy usage of the laser printer is negligible. In the grand scheme of things, I doubt printers use any more power than a rounding error in terms of the world’s electricity usage. My printer uses about a third the energy that my microwave (1225w) uses, and I use the microwave a heck of a lot more often! It’s probably in use 15 minutes a day on average. The printer only needs to pull a third of that amount of power a few seconds at a time, since printing a page is nearly instantaneous.

      But while we’re on the topic of energy consumption, Epson, how about the energy cost of me having to use gas to drive to Wal-Mart (12 miles away) to get a new printer cartridge every time I need to print? When I find I need something printed, I don’t usually have the time to wait to order a cartridge online and have them ship it to me (which, of course, imposes its own energy cost, as the UPS or Amazon or FedEx person has to bring it to me). Eight or more extra trips into town is going to use more energy than the relatively trivial amount my laser printer uses. And, of course, each of the dead printer cartridges is more waste that would not otherwise exist.

      It might be different if I printed a lot more, but that’s just the point. You’re making the decision on behalf of your customers, supposedly for environmental reasons, without knowing what their usage patterns or needs are. If every printer manufacturer followed your lead, I would end up expending more energy and replacing more consumable supplies more often than if a laser printer were available.

      If I printed a lot, I’d have to figure out the total cost of printing per page in terms of the consumables needed, the service life of the printer, and the power usage, and make a decision based on all of that. I have an incentive to keep the power consumption down, since I am the one paying the bill, but it is far from being the only factor.

      The bottom line is that you’re not really doing anything to help the environment with this move, Epson. People who desire to buy a laser will still do so, only now your product will not be one of the choices. I am certain you already have recognized this. I think the real deal is that you want to get out of the laser printer business for economic reasons, and this lets you get a little good PR by spinning it as an environmental move rather than simply admitting lasers are not as profitable as you would like anymore.

      That said, though, if Epson can point me to an inkjet printer that is reasonably priced (I paid $78 in 2013 dollars for the printer/scanner, so right around that price point in 2022 dollars) and that will still work perfectly nine years after I bought it, with zero maintenance, and only with the stuff that came in the box with the printer at time of purchase, and that will work flawlessly with Linux like my laser printer does, I’ll think of trying one again if my laser printer fails or if I need color printing (my laser is black and white, which is all I need for printing documents). Until then, there is no reason to switch, as that would just cost me more money, use more energy, and create more ewaste (the old printer).

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

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    • #2502079

      When I used an Epson inkjet printer, almost every time I wanted to print the ink would be clogged.  Adding a new cartridge would usually fix the problem, but sometimes even that was not enough.  Cost, a new cartridge almost every time printing was needed, $20 – 30 about once a month.  With my HP Laserjet, I get a toner cartridge for $50 and it lasts at least a year, sometimes almost 2.  If it is “better for the environment” to make 12 ink cartridges instead of one toner cartridge – and it probably is, an ink cartridge is very light, then the cost to make 12 ink cartridges should be much less than to make the toner cartridge.  So the only conclusion I can come to is that whoever is selling the inkjet ink cartridges is making a lot of profit.  Why do the laser toner cartridges not cost $500, that is what a year and a half of printing is apparently worth to some people?  Both markets seem to have several brands competing.

      My guess is that inkjet buyers are ordinary consumers who I guess can’t do math, and laser buyers are small businesses who can?

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    • #2502117

      I don’t have need to print things out very often but when I do, I want the printer to be ready!  Most of the time with Ink Jets, they aren’t.  So I bought a Brother mono laser printer many years ago and it’s still there waiting and ready to print for me when I need it.  Epson and any other printer maker will be shooting themselves in the foot if they stop making lasers.

      Brother (and probably others) recycle their toner containers.

      Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake as soon as you make it again.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by Charlie.
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    • #2502167

      Do the math — Epson has less than 10% of the global laser printer market according to this site:


      Giving that up to sell ink cartridges is not a big deal. Now if HP comes out with a similar position, that’s a big deal.

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