Is the manufacturer of disposable classified as Planned Obsolescence? Most likely! Right from the start, cartridge units are produced with an fixed time line or a serviceable life. This means, that the product easily becomes out of date or obsolete up to a prescribed time €“ similar in concept to the expiration date for processed foods and medicines. In essence, the production theory behind consumables rests on enticing consumers towards multiple purchases – over a one-time purchase, until the product deteriorates and a replacement becomes mandatory.
The production preference called Planned Obsolescence is advantageous to printer manufacturers since this stimulates product demand. On the contrary, though this too can be prejudicial to end users. Aside from toner cartridge, plannedobsolescence is evident with the printer unit itself, over expensive light bulbs, and luxury goods like cars and even infrastructure. Nonetheless, product obsolescence may not really be anti-consumer, in ways that products borne out of durability may suffer some form of consumer backlash. For instance, if mobile phones were outfitted with components that can last 20 years, will consumers be enticed to use only a single mobile phone unit for that length of time?
In response to the competitive spirit of many consumers who always pine for the latest products the market can offer, most consumer products have a set mandatory end life of at least 5 years. In the laser printing industry, competing products have been designed to conk out after only 3 years. A shorter end life is observed in the production of toner cartridges. Cartridges have a special lockout chip implanted into its mains that prevents the reuse and refill of the unit after the tonersupply dries up. To think that toner cartridge components can even outlast the printer’s life, then the product obsolescence paradigm puts laser printer users at a disadvantage in this case.
It appears that we are now living in some sort of ‘Disposable Society, where electronic products such as the laser printer only function within a definite time frame and has to be disposed off eventually. Well, this won’t be a problem for moneyed users but the pricing and short tenure of consumables is of great interest for those living on a tight budget. Good thing the aftermarket came up with compatibles that users can now administer refills on empty toner cartridges using compatible tonerrefill kits The availability of toner refill kits not only addressed budget concerns but has somehow contributed to the reduction of cartridges manufactured worldwide. The burgeoning volume of non-biodegradable cartridges disposed over landfills each year is one of the pressing environmental problems that has to be dealt with accordingly.
Laser printer users should not dispose their empty toner cartridges right away. Instead, make use of its latent capability and disprove the idea that it is planned obsolescence all the way.