As a milestone announcement, HP claims one billion ink cartridges have been manufactured using recycled plastic. That is like taking the equivalent of 3,023 cars off the road.
Last Tuesday, I met with two HP executives in San Francisco to hear about HP's greening efforts.
HP sees the printing market as rich even though our reading habits have shifted online. While this might seem a little counterintuitive, HP's sustainability expert Jeff Walter insists that reading information digitally brings the demand away from the major printing press and more towards do-it-yourself printing.
HP used to mail out envelopes so customers could recycle their cartridges. Then the company decided to consolidate the process and established a partnership with Staples to centralize the collection point.
HP claims it has prevented 1.3 billion plastic bottles and 160 million HP ink cartridges from ending up in landfills. Instead of sending the cartridges through a meat grinder, the actual process of recycling the ink cartridges looks a lot like how the cartridges are put together.
The executives then pointed to the world's first PVC-free printer, The HP ENVY 100 e-All-in-One printer. Most other printers have some parts made with recycled plastics.
With the content explosion on the internet, Walter said more people will print out papers at home. But recycling is deeply rooted in HP's culture. The founders of HP focused on the environment 60 years ago. They began employee recycling programs in 1966, asking staff members to recycle their electronic punch cards.
Today, HP's recycling culture reaches the consumer with products like recycled ink cartridges and recycled plastic printers. "Even the printers come wrapped in reusable shopping bags," said Shelley Zimmer, HP's environmental program manager.