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Europe D66 European Parliament Economy

WARNING SHOT FIRED AT PRINTER MANUFACTURERS

   Thu 11/04/2002

The European Parliament has today (Wednesday 11 April) called on EU governments to take steps to curb the sale of electrical equipment designed specifically to prevent it being reused or recycled.

The European Parliament has today (Wednesday 10 April) called on EU governments to take steps to curb the sale of electrical equipment designed specifically to prevent it being reused or recycled. Amendments to the Electrical and Electronic Waste (WEEE) Directive are seen as a bid to halt the use of 'clever chips' intended to deter users of computer printers from installing remanufactured parts or refilled ink cartridges. Opponents claim that the electronic devices, intended principally to display information about machine faults, are now being used to prevent printers operating if recycled or non-branded products are installed. The Liberal Group, of which D66 is a member, that tabled the amendments, claimed that the silicon chip devices are used by major manufacturers to curb competition and keep prices high. Lousewies van der Laan points to a patent taken out in the USA and Europe by Lexmark International for an ink jet cartridge which destroy itself to prevent it being refilled and re-used. When the level of ink falls an electrical current is activated which burns out the printer head. "Action is needed now because these devices are still in their infancy and are getting too clever by half," said Van der Laan. "They are anti-competitive and contrary to the environmental aim of making best use of materials." Europe re-manufacturers, who claim to employ some 50,000 people repairing printer equipment and refilling cartridges, have welcomed the European Parliament's decision.

 

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