Epson ditches lasers and goes all in on inkjet

Epson is set to stop the manufacture of laser printers entirely by 2026, citing sustainability issues. 

The printer giant claims that laser technology has a “limited ability” to make significant steps towards improved sustainability “due to its requirement for heat during the print process and therefore increased energy use”.

The company plans to pivot its printers entirely towards inkjet technology, claiming this “can reduce energy consumption compared to laser” and that the “compact footprint and a lightweight design” of these inkjet printers can help “limit resources used during production and shipping”.

What makes Inkjet different?

In a blog post citing its own data, Epson claims its own inkjet printers use less than 85% less energy than a comparable laser printer and 85% less carbon dioxide.

Inkjet printers use wet ink and nozzle assembly to print onto paper, whereas laser printers use a laser and dry ink (also called tonner) to print 

In general, inkjet printers tend to be somewhat smaller in size than their laser counterparts, but also have a slightly higher cost per page. 

This news comes a year after Epson announced a ¥100 billion investment into sustainable innovation. But despite the latest public commitment to sustainability, Epson has attracted some intense criticism regarding its environmental practices in recent years.

Epson confirmed in July 2022 that some of its printers are designed to stop working after a certain period of time, forcing customers to either replace the hardware or pay for it to be survived by an authorized repair person. 

The timecoded limit was reported to impact Epson’s L360 L130, L220, L310, and L365 model printers. 

Commenting on the news to the Fight to Repair blog Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain said:

“A printer self-bricking after a while is a great example of ‘you think you bought a product, but you really rented a service.”

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