Help against the war on single use plastic by choosing an eco friendly printer. First you must understand the key differences in ink cartridges.
1. Multi ink cartridge printers can be good in the sense you only replace the colour you need when it runs out but the amount of cartridges they use per printer can be up to 3 times more with a total of 6x cartridges in one printer. Plus the compatibles are not recyclable and the original and compatibles are deemed as single use. Not great for the environment.
2. Continuous ink printers. These printers have a large ink tank inside or outside the printer but the entry price for a printer start in their hundreds. Plus with a limited hardware warranty it may not be too long before the printer has to be replaced. However in practice these could be best solution if the printer lasts more than several years. I do wonder if any have ruined someones carpet however when they are being refilled or knocked over by accident...
3. Black and tri-colour printers. By far the most popular printers on the market due to the printer entry price point of £30 and above however choosing the right one is very important to ensure your printing costs are low. The cartridges can usually be refilled however manufacturers such as HP are making it very difficult for refilling companies to refill the cartridges. They make the chips weak so they break when being cleaned or returned in the post, they change the chip coding half way through the lifecycle of the printer range making old cartridges unusable in the newer printers, and the printers have memory so you can't use a refill kit from the supermarket as it remembers that the cartridge has already been used. On top of this the printers can have a built in "Protection" option if somehow you're in a business or school where you have a theft issue with your cartridges. Realistically though this is very rare in a home however some customers choose to "protect" the cartridges as the option is there or has been switched on inadvertantly which means they can't be used in another printer or refilled by refilling companies which makes them more viable to be thrown away rather than being reused.
Here are some options if you are in the market for a new printer. We will focus on Canon.
Canon is a well known established brand especially in photography. Remember printers come in three guises - two ink cartridge, multi ink cartridge, and continuous printers.
Two ink printers such as the Canon PIXMA TS5150 printer that uses PG540 and CL541 inks sell at approx £60 or Canon PIXMA MX495 printer that uses PG545 and CL546 inks sell at approx £35 are my personal recommendations over the more expensive multi ink or refillable printers. Multi ink cartridges are good theoretically as you only replace the colour that runs out but you generally can't recycle the cartridges and they contribute to a lot of landfill waste. Plus buying five cartridges is pricier than buying just two. You can buy compatible cartridges with Chinese origin which are cheap but at the cost of the environment and distribution miles. The latest fad is using refillable printers however they are expensive. The entry level Canon PIXMA G4510 printers starts at £285 which is a big ask and if it fails after the two year warranty runs out you won't be happy.
The ink cartridges the Canon PIXMA TS5150 uses are significantly larger than those used on the Canon PIXMA MX495 however you only see the benefit of using the TS5150 if you buy the high capacity PG540XL and CL541XL ink cartridges. Below you will see the difference in ink capacity. Also bear in mind that you can save money on ink cartridges if you buy refilled cartridges and return your empty cartridges to help a charity such as Children with Cancer.
Canon PIXMA TS5150 Printer
Canon PG540 Black Ink Cartridge - 8ml
Canon CL541 Colour Ink Cartridge - 8ml
Canon PG540XL Black Ink Cartridge - 21ml
Canon CL541XL Colour Ink Cartrdge - 15ml
Printer cost £50
Replacement original Canon PG540XL and CL541XL ink cartridges - £35
Replacement refilled Canon PG540XL and CL541XL ink cartridges - £20
Canon PIXMA MX495 Printer
Canon PG545 Black Ink Cartridge - 8ml
Canon CL546 Colour Ink Cartridge - 8ml
Canon PG545XL Black Ink Cartridge - 15ml
Canon CL546XL Colour Ink Cartrdge - 13ml
Printer cost £35
Replacement original Canon PG545XL and CL546XL ink cartridges - £29
Replacement refilled Canon PG545XL and CL546XL ink cartridges - £23
To summerise our recommendation for the best eco printer is the Canon PIXMA TS5150 inkjet printer as the cartridges hold more ink than the 545/546 variant. It offers great value for money with a low entry point to buy the printer, it comes with two ink cartridges to start you off and the ink capacity is higher than other brands and printers in the market providing a lower cost per page especially if you opt for the XL inks. On top of that you can return the empty ink cartridges to us which helps raise funds for Children with Cancer and helps reduce landfill and the need to produce more ink cartridges. Oh and it even comes in white if you prefer, if so, go for the TS5151 printer instead if that's your preference.