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Computer printer e-waste and EU measures to tackle it

Question écrite de Mme Clare DALY - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Clare DALY, M. Mick WALLACE,

Diffusée le 5 mars 2024

Subject: Computer printer e-waste and EU measures to tackle it

Computer printers are a significant source of e-waste. Many computer printer manufacturers operate through a business model where low-cost printers lock consumers in to ink cartridge replacements exclusively from that manufacturer. Not only is this a monopolistic practice, it is wasteful and harmful to the environment.

The EU has pursued various measures to tackle e-waste, including the introduction of a ‘common charger’ for portable electronic devices. The recent preparatory study from the Joint Research Centre on printers and cartridges1 recommends abandoning self-regulation under voluntary agreements for imaging equipment, and instead putting in place binding requirements.

1. Will the Commission put in place measures to remove electronic and physical barriers to the remanufacture, repair and reuse of imaging products, and not just their recycling?

2. Will it, for example, consider legislation to permit only the sale of universally usable printer cartridges in the single market, in a similar manner to the common charger legislation?

3. What else is the Commission considering in order to reduce e-waste from printers?


1 Joint Research Centre, Imaging equipment and its consumables. Preparatory study for ecodesign. JRC

Science for Policy Report, 2023.

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 2 mai 2024

Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius on behalf of the European Commission (3 May 2024)

With the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan 2022-2024 (2), the Commission announced the preparation of regulatory measures for imaging equipment under the Ecodesign Directive (3).

The objective of this initiative is to make imaging equipment more material- and energy-efficient, and by doing so to reduce its overall environmental impact.

In support of this initiative the Joint Research Centre has conducted a preparatory study (4), to identify and assess possible ecodesign requirements for these products. Requiring cartridges to be universally usable was not identified as one of the possible requirements to pursue further.

On the basis of this preparatory study and an impact assessment, the Commission will consider ecodesign requirements to make imaging equipment, including cartridges, more durable and easier to remanufacture, repair and reuse.

Furthermore, as cartridges containing electrical/electronic parts fall within the scope of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive (5), waste from such cartridges must be collected and treated according to the requirements of this directive.

In addition, as this directive incorporates the waste hierarchy, where possible, preparation for reuse of waste cartridges is prioritised over recycling by ensuring that users can give back to the distributors on a one-to-one basis their old cartridge when they buy a new one and by granting access for personnel from reuse centres to WEEE collection points.

1 ∙ ⸱ Joint Research Centre, Imaging equipment and its consumables. Preparatory study for ecodesign. JRC Science for Policy Report, 2023.

2 ∙ ⸱

3 ∙ ⸱ Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements

for energy-related products, OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10-35. 4 ∙ ⸱ 5 ∙ ⸱

Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment, OJ L 197, 24.7.2012, p. 38-71.

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