Waugh declared on OEM cartridges

Cricketing great Mark Waugh will go in to bat for the reuse of printer cartridges as part of a nationwide campaign to cut waste. The move is expected to fire up the battle for the lucrative consumables market.

Waugh will appear in a TV advertisement in February urging consumers to reuse printer cartridges. This is in opposition to the widely publicised OEM/PlanetArk strategy, which encourages consumers to simply return empty cartridges for recycling.

The ad, backed by cartridge remanufacturers, will spearhead a campaign next year to promote the industry as reputable and environmentally friendly.

Waugh appears in the ad, set at a cricket field and landfill site, telling viewers that 20 million cartridges are thrown away each year and likens reuse to refuelling a car.

"You wouldn't throw away your car when it runs out of gas, so why would you throw away your empty printer cartridges?" he tells viewers.

Australasian Cartridge Remanufacturers Association (ACRA) spokesperson, David Gibbons, said his industry was "at war" with the OEM/PlanetArk strategy.

"We want to use this [ad] to educate people that there is a better way to reuse cartridges," he said.

"These things are still of value. There's still a lifecycle process."

The new campaign is also the biggest shot fired by the remanufacturing industry in its bid to claim an increased slice of the growing consumables market.

Over eight million homes in Australia use printer cartridges, according to the ACRA - the reason for its mass market approach. The ACRA will also target IT managers and government purchasing officers next year, Gibbons said.

The Association will stage a series of seminars around the country aimed at addressing concerns from those in positions of buying power.

Franchises like Cartridge World, which have grown to over 180 stores nationwide, undercut the price of new cartridges by about 50 per cent. However, vendors such as HP and Lexmark have taken legal and technological steps in recent years to protect their multi-million dollar product lines from remanufacturers.

To fight perceptions that their products are of lesser quality, Association members have developed warranties that cover both cartridges and printers.

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Steven Deare

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