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The GREEN is starting to turn BROWN
Old 01-18-2008, 12:03 AM   #1
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The GREEN is starting to turn BROWN

Yesterday I ordered four printer ink cartridges and two packages of photo paper from HP's online store. Their prices beat the pants off any local source by $10-$20, including sales tax. They even offered FREE overnight shipping.

Today the FEDEX guy delivered my stuff. Each individual item was packed in its own box with its own shipping label. All the stuff I ordered would have fit in ONE of the boxes and it all came by overnight air from Memphis, TN to Columbus OH. HP must have a warehouse close to the FEDEX hub in Memphis for such fast service.

I got to thinking about all the packages and came to the conclusion HP must stock everything in its warehouse prepackaged and ready to ship, just add a label and throw it in the waiting FEDEX truck.

I paid a visit to HP's website tonight and did a little reading about all the GREEN this and GREEN that and how they are going to save the world and on and on and on...............

I'm beginning to think some of this GREEN stuff is really a bunch of BROWN stuff. How can six boxes plus dunnage and labels be any GREENER than one box, dunnage and a label. Especially when they ship it 600 miles overnight air.

The real clincher was in the ink cartridge packages, a GREEN prepaid envelope to return my used cartridges for recycling. They are going to pay to have me ship my old cartridges 500 miles to Nashville TN. Something is just nuts about the whole thing in my opinion.

I think all this GREEN is starting to turn a dark shade of BROWN if you ask me. It might give a good corporate image but it's starting to smell.
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:26 AM   #2
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Yes, a lot of this reminds me of the company that was spending more on ads talking about their charity work than they spent on the charities.

Write to HP - I'd be curious to see what they have to say.

-ERD50
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
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This is what they will have to say:

Dear Valued Customer:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Here a HP we are working very to conduct our business in the most environmentally sound manner possible. We realize that there are some areas blah blah blah.
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:06 AM   #4
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IMHO - Returning cartridges has nothing to do with recycling. If HP can get the carts back, there will not be carts available for refiling. As they make their money off the sale of ink and not printers, they really want those carts back!
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
This is what they will have to say:

Dear Valued Customer:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Here a HP we are working very to conduct our business in the most environmentally sound manner possible. We realize that there are some areas blah blah blah.
Funny (in a sad way), but probably true, T-Al. Plus, they probably flew consultants in from around the globe, burning up tons of fuel to come up with a clever and legally CYA way to fill in the 'blah blah blah'.

-ERD50
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:58 PM   #6
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I like to at least try to make "greener" choices, but it's really hard to do when there are few-to-no resources I can turn to that will tell me, for example, whether or not one product has a lower carbon burden than another. One good example is ethanol fuel made from corn, which consumes 1.0 units of fuel energy for each 1.2 units it creates. (In Brazil, where they use sugar cane instead of corn, the ratio is one unit consumed for four+ units produced.)

At least that information is out there and available, but you have to dig to find it. For some things the information just isn't there at all. Take clothes washers, for example. Sure, they have a label that tells you how much energy they'll use when once they're installed, but there's no information on how much energy was required to produce them, ship them to the store, or dispose of them. That makes it very hard to judge whether or not replacing an old clothes washer with a new one is "greener" than repairing the old one.
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Old 01-18-2008, 07:15 PM   #7
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...............(In Brazil, where they use sugar cane instead of corn, the ratio is one unit consumed for four+ units produced.)
.................
Agree, and you gotta wonder if the sugar cane is grown over burned down rain forest..
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:01 PM   #8
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I like to at least try to make "greener" choices, but it's really hard to do when there are few-to-no resources I can turn to that will tell me, for example, whether or not one product has a lower carbon burden than another.

....

Take clothes washers, for example. Sure, they have a label that tells you how much energy they'll use when once they're installed, but there's no information on how much energy was required to produce them, ship them to the store, or dispose of them.
Agreed. I've seen some studies where they tried to measure the carbon footprint of one product versus the other, and it gets extremely complex (and subject to 'fudging'). And, it depends on where you live for shipping, so it is tough to provide useful info.


I'd be happy to get some real general guidelines published - like a pound of beef, chicken, pork take X amounts of water, grain, etc on average. Or water, fertilizer, pesticides for a pound of carrots versus a pound of broccoli, etc.

That's one reason I'd like to see conservation pushed so much more. IF you saved a gallon of gas by combining trips, or car-pooling, or tele-commuting - well, you saved a gallon of gas. No comparison needed.

-ERD50
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:29 AM   #9
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You have to wonder what was the incremental environmental cost of shipping the cartridges over such a long distance. However, it would be difficult to carry out a "100 mile diet" for all the things we buy.
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Old 01-19-2008, 12:32 PM   #10
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this guy is just now back after a long hiatus..
How Many Miles from Babylon: Every little bit helps, right?

The stuff about savings just transforming into consumption was interesting..
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:29 PM   #11
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IMHO - Returning cartridges has nothing to do with recycling. If HP can get the carts back, there will not be carts available for refiling. As they make their money off the sale of ink and not printers, they really want those carts back!
I'd be surprised if the returned cartridges do not enter the recycle stream somehow. Office depot pays $3 store credit for each returned cartridge or gives a free ream of paper.

The bigger deal to me is why so many different cartridges even if you only use HP printers. We have two hp's that require 4 unique cartridges. The valuable part of the empty cartridge is the little circuit board.......it would have been clever if this circuit could be detached from the old inkwell and affixed to the new as an option to refilling your own cartridge or buying refilled cartridges. The Office Depot brand refilled cartriges have not worked well in my experience.
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Old 01-19-2008, 02:02 PM   #12
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this guy is just now back after a long hiatus..
How Many Miles from Babylon: Every little bit helps, right?

The stuff about savings just transforming into consumption was interesting..
ladelfina, that was a great blog, thanks for linking to it. His examples on the possible counter-productive elements of the '100 mile diet' (mentioned by meadbh) were right on (but I do think we could promote more 'buy local' where it makes sense).

I agree completely with his counter of 'every little bit helps'. I've said many times on this forum, the 'little bit' is usually meaningless, is offset by something else, or acts as a 'feel good' relief which let's the person 'off the hook' for meaningful change.

-ERD50
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Old 01-19-2008, 02:48 PM   #13
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this guy is just now back after a long hiatus..
How Many Miles from Babylon: Every little bit helps, right?

The stuff about savings just transforming into consumption was interesting..
"Even if my rice is coming from Texas or Louisiana and the corn for my meal is probably being grown a few hundred miles away in the Florida panhandle."

Interesting comment, that. In fact, it's better to get rice from monsoon India rather than a rain-starved Texas (or California).

I'm sure most on this forum would pick a) on the 4 questions, if only because it's less expensive.
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