Saturday 11 September 2010

No parts – no mend

Sometimes we would like to mend things but it just can’t be done. This is my late departed printer, that was alive and well a week ago but was condemned to be buried in a hole in the ground , simply because it was not possible to economically replace a few worn parts. As an IT consultant I see lots of printers that get binned for similar reasons. My friend Steve at Recycle PC confirms that there is a massive problem with all makes of ink jets and that the design life is about three years (mine actually lasted 7 years, but it could easily have lasted far more). Many printers cease to work simply because the pads that absorb waste ink have become full. These pads are little more than cotton wool but are impossible to get at and expensive to buy.

I hope that at least some of the metals were recovered before my printer went to landfill. Printers are far from being the only problem. It is not possible for users to replace the batteries on many phones and music players – it is hard not to see this as a cynical marketing ploy.

This expensive multifunction printer was multifunctionrepaired when its ink pads clogged up but the cost was not much less than buying a new printer – even though the parts were tiny. I had it repaired, more because it would have been unforgivable to scrap so many resources – rather than on economic grounds.


It is not all bad news – I was able to replace the cutter blade on this hedge trimmer at about 50% of the cost of a new trimmer. Though this did require me to dismantle and reassemble most of the machine without the aid of instructions! If I had to pay someone to do this then the cost would have been prohibitive.

Manufacturers tell us they provide what the consumer demands – well it is time more consumers demanded products that can be easily repaired and that spare parts are made available at sensible prices.

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