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Green printers not a priority for UK companies

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are less likely than their European counterparts to consider the environment when buying a printer, according to a new survey.

IT firm, Hewlett Packard (HP), commissioned a European independent review of 1,200 SMEs in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The survey examined the environmental factors that currently influence printer purchases and environmental awareness.

It found that 56% of UK SMEs were not influenced by a printer manufacturers product recycling programme compared to 30% of German SMEs. It also found that only 4% of UK respondents put environment as their top priority when purchasing a printing device.

HP environmental manager Bruno Zago said that the UK SMEs probably do not think of products at the end of its life. Its all about the upfront purchase and if a company is buying manufactured goods from someone like HP they may automatically think that there will be a take-back recycling scheme at the end of its life. So, they make an assumption and think that there is an end of life solution and may not be influenced by a printer manufacturers product recycling programme.

Zago also said that lack of awareness and commercial pressures made it difficult for companies to be as green as they would like.

HP conducted the survey in recognition of the challenges that some SMEs face in becoming green. However, the research did show that UK SMEs were trying to cut down on waste and increase recycling. A total of 65% of SMEs had paper re-use or recycling programmes in place and 50% used double-sided printing.

The IT firm has recently developed a closed loop recycling programme where it used more than 2.26 million kilograms of recycled plastic in its inkjet cartridges last year and plans to double this figure by the end of this year. In addition, in its recent Global Citizenship Report 2007, HP said that it recycled 450,000 tonnes of electronic products and supplies. It hopes to recover 450,000 extra tonnes by 2010.

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