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HP Ink Cartridge Hack: Save plastic and ink

Posted By Beth Terry On November 11, 2009 @ 11:56 am In Electronics | 31 Comments

This will be a short post. More of a rant, actually. And hopefully useful to at least one person out there.

Last night I discovered Hewlett Packard’s scheme to get printer owners to spend more money on ink cartridges: cartridge expiration dates.

HP printers waste ink!

I have an HP Officejet 9110 that uses ink cartridges with expiration dates actually programmed into them, causing them to stop working whether they still have ink in them or not. And when that happens, the printer itself stops working too — whether I need to use that color or not.

I don’t know if HP’s newer printers use the same kind of cartridges, but this deal irks me for multiple reasons. First, it’s a total waste of plastic and perfectly good ink to program the cartridge to expire before it’s used up. I don’t care if the cartridges can be returned to be recycled. Recycling uses more energy and resources than actually using up what we already have. And second, this is just a crappy way to get me to shell out another $40 for an ink cartridge I rarely use. (Sorry, I was up late last night doing my personal bookkeeping and realizing I need to find more ways to save money. This situation does not help!)

Fortunately, I found a work around, and maybe it could work for you too. I trick the printer into thinking the date is earlier than it is. You can change the date on the printer (on my printer, I can do it through the Maintenance menu) but that’s not enough. You actually have to change the date on the computer that the printer is connected to. Only then will it print again.

Trouble is, if you keep the incorrect date in your computer, you’ll find you have problems accessing secure web sites because the certificate dates will not be correct. So you’ll end up changing the date back and forth whenever you want to print. But you know what? I’m trying to save paper and ink by printing less often anyway, so it won’t be too much of an inconvenience.

I kick myself daily for buying this monstrous printer that is way more than I’ve ever needed. But I bought it back in the days before I became concerned about lowering my ecological footprint, and I’ve been debating the pros and cons of replacing it with a more energy-efficient printer that consumes less ink. But since I don’t use it much, I think this is a situation where keeping what I have is better than replacing it with a more eco-friendly model.

Hey, HP! I know you care about plastic pollution because you are sponsoring the Plastiki’s voyage to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch [1]. But recycling isn’t enough. We need to be conserving resources first. So please, if you’re reading, let us know how you plan to remedy this wasteful ink situation. Please?

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URL to article: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2009/11/hp-ink-cartridge-hack-save-plastic-and-ink/

URLs in this post:

[1] Plastiki’s voyage to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2009/090626xa.html

[2] Image: https://plus.google.com/+BethTerry

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