The Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany is a fascinating place and well worth a visit.
It is a testament to our devotion to books and the printed word. As well as housing many of the city library’s rare and historic volumes, including two Gutenberg Bibles from the 15th century, the museum displays a wide collection of printing presses from the earliest times to the modern day.
When Johanes Gutenberg worked to build the first printing press, could he have foreseen the impact his invention would have on society, culture and democracy? Some 600 years on, we take for granted the fact that printers can churn out newspapers, cookery books, novels and, of course, Bibles at the touch of a button.
Perhaps more surprising to Gutenberg would be the fact that nowadays many households have a computer printer for when people working from home need a ‘hard copy’ of some document or other. They are, in comparison to earlier models, ridiculously cheap to buy. The real cost is in the printer cartridges.
Am I the only one to eke out the printer ink for as long as possible, printing documents that get paler and more ghostly with every sheet of paper? That’s because a new set of printer cartridges can cost almost as much at the printer itself. But I’m not here to complain about the price of printer inks and cartridges. I’m here to highlight the fact that printer cartridges are part of the circular economy, assuming that people do their bit to complete this virtuous circle.
With every new printer cartridge, you receive a special envelope in which to return your empty cartridge to the manufacturer for recycling. This only works, however, if you actually put the old cartridge in the envelope, seal it and put it in a post box. On this occasion, I did recycle the cartridges but my photo of putting the white envelope into the post box on a sunny day was a washout, sorry.
Recycling cartridges will reduce their cost in the long term and stop such valuable items going to landfill. Our lives are full of opportunities to complete the circle in the circular economy. Be alert to them and do your bit.