HP Instant Ink

HP Instant Ink

Reduce your environmental impact with a closed-loop printer cartridge subscription


Planet Ark proudly endorses HP’s Instant Ink subscription service for printer ink and toner. The service is changing the way households and small to medium businesses use their printers, making it easier to reduce their environmental impact and recycle their cartridges. 

Why is an ink subscription service good for the environment? 

Subscription models for ink and toner (see details below to learn what this is) can be of great benefit to the consumer, offering them convenience, peace of mind and even cost savings in some cases. But there are also environmental benefits that are often overlooked. 

Compared to purchasing cartridges in-store, an ink subscription service has a lower carbon footprint as it requires less materials and energy. HP Instant Ink also includes a recycling service for its subscribers in association with Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, which has a zero waste to landfill commitment. As part of the HP Instant Ink subscription, HP will send its subscribers postage-paid recycling envelopes (included with select ink or toner shipments) at no additional cost, so all that’s left for customers to do is pop their empty cartridges in the mail once the bag is full!

How do we know it’s better for the environment? 

HP commissioned two Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) to determine whether its subscription service has a lower environmental impact than a traditional retail model where customers purchase their cartridges in-store. An LCA is a scientific methodology performed by an objective third party to assess the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life cycle of a commercial product, process, or service. 

The LCAs examined the environmental impact of printing 1,000 pages using HP Instant Ink versus both high and low volume cartridges bought from a store. They analysed and compared capacity differences, delivery logistics, packaging, and cartridge size in the systems. 

The results show the subscription service: 

  • requires less packaging

  • delivers more pages per cartridge

  • dramatically reduces distribution impacts (fewer cartridges needed, simpler distribution, bulk shipping, and no consumer in-store purchasing) 

  • and has greater end-of-life recovery rates (more cartridges are recycled)

The LCAs were assessed for North America and a number of European countries. As some variations may exist in these models compared to Australia, HP Australia is collecting data and will explore producing an Australian LCA in the future.

Recycling of used cartridges is included in the HP Instant Ink service

Recycling of used cartridges is included in the HP Instant Ink service

How does HP Instant Ink work?

Instead of buying printer cartridges, customers sign up to a flexible monthly subscription based on their printing habits. Simply put, HP sends its customers ink and toner when they need it and charges them for the pages they print. This model may be particularly appealing to households or small to medium businesses that do not frequently use their printer. 

Customers can sign up to a plan that suits their needs (like a phone plan), and if they don’t end up printing all the pages allotted to them within the month, a select number of unused pages will roll over to the following month (the exact number will depend on the plan). 

The subscription includes ink or toner, delivery, and recycling of the used cartridges. The service requires customers to own an HP printer that is connected to the internet (most models are compatible and a complete list of compatible models is available on their website) so their printing habits can be baselined. This enables HP to monitor ink and toner levels so that replacement cartridges can be mailed to the customer before they have run out. 

Rethinking how we use products

Do we really need to own the products we use? Subscription and leasing models are often far better for the environment and, in many cases, the customer. They incentivise brands to design products that are more efficient and built to last, and they make them accountable for the responsible disposal of the product at its end of life. 

HP Instant Ink is an excellent example of ‘product as a service’ – a business model that is an important element of the growing ‘circular economy’, where resources and materials are kept in use and at the highest value for as long possible. 

At Planet Ark, we believe these types of services are the way of the future. We need to rethink how we use our precious resources, and that includes rethinking how we use products.

Learn more about HP Instant Ink.

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