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Recycled Cartridges: A little known industry with a big story

Red Bus Recycled cartridges
Red Bus Recycled cartridges

Red Bus Cartridges makes the case for recycled cartridges

We all know someone who is loyal to a brand. No matter what, they will not use an alternative product because what they use works well and anything that is cheaper or labelled an alternative just wouldn’t be good enough, right? Wrong!

A good example is recycled toner cartridges – so why do certain consumers still have their doubts?

Perhaps they’ve had a bad experience with buying a cheaper alternative and the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ is now permanently etched on their mind?

Similarly, they might believe that nothing can compare to the quality of what they have already. Or maybe it’s because the vast majority of people don’t really understand the difference between a recycled cartridge and a compatible one. Unless they work in an industry that produces or sells these products, why should they?

Undoubtedly, cost is vital to any consumer, which should make recycled cartridges all the more appealing. Sellers such as Red Bus Cartridges offer cartridges that are up to 70% cheaper than original equipment manufacturer versions.

Based in Boston, Lincolnshire, Red Bus Cartridges is an online seller that remanufactures laser toner cartridges. Inspiration for the company name comes from a 1966 bright red Routemaster bus currently residing in its factory. The company’s knowledge and expertise in this area spans more than 30 years. This achievement alone is something Red Bus Cartridges is extremely proud of, but it’s also proud that from the start everything has been, and still is, made in the UK in a purpose-built 32,000m² factory.

When asked about the company’s production strategy, Red Bus Cartridges director John Studholme said: “We are a strong believer in keeping things as simple as possible and making as much of our production equipment as we can in our on-site tool room facilities. Should we ever need to source externally for equipment we apply the same logic. Simplification is always the key and from this, efficiency and productivity are the outcome.”

Year on year challenges

In recent years, Red Bus Cartridges has seen a number of changes in its industry, including acquisitions and mergers and a surprising increase in counterfeit products. The demand for affordable cartridge consumables is prevalent but consumers also expect a level of quality and functionality that cheap compatible versions simply cannot deliver.

There needs to be clearer information and a better understanding of the types of cartridge consumers are buying, but achieving this is a challenge, as Studholme acknowledges: “Products that we remanufacture have little or no European competition, as our competitors invariably import from the Far East.This is not a new problem for us, but year by year it becomes more challenging. Our continual challenge is to highlight the blatant disregard that our competition has for intellectual property rights and selling fake products.”

Thanks to Brexit, this year is set to be an intriguing one for all UK manufacturers. However, Studholme is resolute on the subject: “Brexit has happened so there can be no negative views now; we can only embrace the new situation as a great opportunity to re-establish UK manufacturing.”

Completely self-sufficient

Toner cartridge can be recycled between three to seven times
Toner cartridge can be recycled between three to seven times

Red Bus Cartridges prides itself on being a completely self-sufficient organisation. In addition to manufacturing on site, all tools and equipment are designed and made at its Lincolnshire headquarters; an in-house team of technicians and engineers carries out all product research and development; and all marketing and product support is created internally.

That self-sufficiency extends to finances. “We never had a long-term strategy except to always adapt to the changing market place, from dot matrix and inkjet supplies through to laser toner and 3D printing. Our underlying strategy is always to be financially self-sufficient, with no debt of any sort and with a healthy bank balance. With this platform, direct change is always possible,” explains Studholme.

With everything under one roof, Red Bus Cartridges has complete control over all processes and can ensure that the finished product is one of the highest quality. It is a common misconception among consumers that quality is affected through the remanufacturing process, but it is one that the Lincolnshire company is quick to dispel.

Recycled cartridges should not be confused with copy or compatible versions that are extremely cheap and often produced with stolen designs. The quality of compatible cartridges cannot always be trusted and they regularly fall short of British manufacturing standards. Compatible cartridges are often imported from Asia, which can a have harmful effect on the environment due to the lengthy supply chain involved in shipping empties and the finished product.

Red Bus Cartridges is committed to reducing its impact on the environment. Some of the benefits of recycling and remanufacturing toner cartridges include:

Over 45 million printer cartridges are sent to landfill every year, a great deal of which are toners;

For every toner cartridge that is recycled, around 1.6kg of waste is prevented from going to landfill;

A toner cartridge can be recycled between three to seven times;

Recycled toner cartridges use around half as much oil in their manufacture as original versions.

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cartridges? Visit today!

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