I recently received a Press Release from the PR firm that works with Canon Canada that announces a new initiative relating to the recycling of printer ink cartridges. While I receive about a dozen e-mails like this a day from PR firms across North America, this one resonated with me so I looked into it further as I like to share Eco News and Events with my readers:
The first two paragraphs of the Press Release read like this:
Continuing its commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, Canon Canada Inc., a leader in digital imaging, is pleased to announce a new inkjet cartridge recycling program for all Canon PIXMA printer users. Designed in collaboration with Close the Loop Inc., all inkjet cartridges returned through the program will be recycled fully with zero waste going to landfills.
Canon PIXMA printer users can now drop off their empty genuine PIXMA inkjet cartridges to any of Canon’s 14 Canadian offices. From there, the cartridges will be transferred to Close the Loop, a “material recovery” company specializing in the recycling of inkjet cartridges.
The first thing that jumped out at me was not that a recycling program had begun but that in order to recylce Canon cartridges in this program, someone had to drop them off at one of Canon’s 14 Canadian offices. I contacted the PR firm for clarification, and to also enquire where these offices were. I also wanted to know if Canon would collect non-Canon cartridges since many people using Canon printers will use non-Canon ink.
The answers promptly provided back to me were disappointing.
It turns out that of the 14 Canon office locations, there wasn’t one within about 50 KM’s of my home. I then asked if Canon planned to partner with any retail locations so as to expand the reach and accessibility for Canon printer owners who wanted to do the right thing. The answer was that there were no plans to partner with anyone at this time.
I was also disappointed to hear that only Canon PIXMA cartridges would be collected for this program.
So here’s my gripe…
While I’m willing to concede that any eco measure when it comes to consumer e-waste is a good thing, the attempts by Canon here fall way short of the mark. To think that consumers will get in their cars to drive to one of only 14 locations in Canada and become willing participants is eco-myopic at best. In my case why would I drive perhaps 100 KM’s round trip, spewing emissions in the process, and during business hours to boot, when there are far better options available to me?
Sadly this appears to be an initiative that was designed to show how responsible Canon is, yet due to its limitations of both scope and convenience will actually seem more half-hearted and PR inspired than it should.
If Canon really wants to show itself as a environmentally responsible corporate citizen, these initiatives will not do the job. While they have the nucleus of a good idea, they need to expand both the reach, access and convenience of this for it to be of any real benefit.
I will share my thoughts with Canon and sincerely hope that they will take this feedback into consideration before pushing this initiative with the press any further. I’d welcome any feedback they wish to provide.