The Printer is Dead, Long Live the Printer…

Lexmark Colour Laser Printer - Original or Second-hand?
Lexmark Colour Laser Printer – Original, New or Second-hand?

Following on from an earlier post regarding the benefits of Freecycle (Freecycle – A great opportunity), I recently had a problem with my Lexmark Colour Laser Printer (a C543dn, for the technically minded).

I would like to share with you, the environmental issues, that I contended with to resolve the problem of obtaining a replacement printer.

It was producing streaking on colour prints and a yellow stain on the right margin. Closer inspection identified that the yellow imaging unit, which together with the replacement for the Cyan, Magenta and Black imaging kits was estimated to cost over £230.

The above cost should be taken in the context that the original printer cost £250 when new in 2010. The exact model is, no longer sold, but replacement models are in the region of £250 themselves. However, I did not want a new model as I already had over £200 of unused ink toner, which would be incompatible.

So after a few minutes thought, I was just about to press the button to buy a new laser printer when a quiet, still voice (from my co-Director) reminded me that I often sell redundant equipment on ebay & that it might be worth looking on-line for a direct replacement printer.

As luck would have it, ebay had two sellers with the exact same model: one in nearby Ringwood in Dorset & one in North London, either would be a reasonable drive but I took a chance on the printer in Dorset.

Several bids later, I was the auction winner of a second-hand Lexmark Laser Printer for only £20. A great deal even with the cost of the drive (£72 at 0.45p per mile & 2.5 hours of my time).

In summary, I got to save the environment, in several small but important ways:

  1. My original printer will need to be scrapped but I will offer it for parts on ebay saving its impact on landfill and the wider environment.
  2. My (new) second-hand printer will have a further extended life in my office & cost a fraction of the latest models saving my business about £150 even after my hidden costs for the collection.
  3. The unused ink toner can, now, be used reducing wastage especially as I have always recycled them through the excellent Lexmark Return Program (
  4. Finally, it made me give greater, renewed thought to my management decisions on how my business impacts on the environment

The morale of the story is for a better and sustainable world, we all need to think “outside the box” and give greater thought about how we, in our business and family lives, impact on the environment & how we can make wiser and important choices.

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