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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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The Good Shopping Guide To Finding An Eco Printer: The Best Printer Brands

See our Ethical Printers Ratings Table to compare brands

Why is it important to buy from ethical printer companies?

More people work from home than ever before, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, the demand for home printers has dramatically increased. According to Wired, printer brands such as Brother saw a 30-42% increase in its printer sales between April to June of 2020. 

So, with so many of us buying printers, it’s vital that we vote with our wallets and purchase an eco printer from ethical and sustainable printer companies. You can find out more about the best brands to buy from in our Ethical Printers Ratings Table.

Can I recycle my printer ink cartridges?

Did you know that used printer cartridges end up in landfill? Used printer ink cartridges pollute the environment with toxic chemicals and take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Printer Cartridge Recycling states that an estimated 45 million used printer ink cartridges are thrown away in the UK every year. 

According to Brother, 97% of printer ink cartridges are recyclable, with many printer brands now offering the option to return your cartridges for recycling. By doing this, you can have a clear conscience, knowing that your printer cartridges are not contributing to environmental waste and pollution.

Is recycled printer paper better for the environment?

Printer paper can also have a negative impact on the planet. Though new printer paper only accounts for a small percentage of deforestation, it takes 24 trees to make a tonne of paper. So it’s good to be mindful of our paper consumption. Purchase FSC certified printer paper, which is made to stricter environmental standards than ordinary paper is. Buying recycled printer paper also reduces deforestation.

Printer brands and human rights abuses

Consider the printer brands you buy from very carefully. Some printer brands are involved in unethical practices. For instance, several printer brands in our ethical comparison ratings table have been involved in human rights abuses. Avoid these brands if you want to buy an eco printer that has been made in an ethical and sustainable way. 

You can learn which printer brands to avoid from our Ethical Printers Ratings Table. This table gives you all the information you need to choose an eco printer from an ethical brand, saving you the time and effort of doing the research yourself. Just look for printer brands within the green section of our table, as these companies have received the best ethical ratings. The brands in red are the ones to avoid!


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Our research findings: Printer brands to avoid in your search for an eco printer

Find out how the UK’s leading printer brands score for human rights…

HP receives the worst score within our research. HP has been marked down for several ethical concerns, such as its lack of commitment to addressing the human rights abuses within its supply chains. 

Similarly, Canon was also marked down for human rights concerns. Canon receives poor scores in the KnowTheChain and Corporate Human Rights benchmarks. These two brands therefore received a bottom rating under our Human Rights assessment.

HP printers and animal testing

You may be shocked to learn that HP tests its printer ink on animals. This is a major concern for people who are conscious about animal welfare. In vivo testing subjects animals to unnecessary cruelty and suffering. If you are concerned about the ethical impact of your printer, we recommend avoiding HP. 

The most ethical printer brands to choose from for an eco printer

We were pleased to see that many printer brands met our ethical benchmark, with only 4 brands appearing in the red and amber sections of our ethical comparison ratings table. Although there are still many issues for printer brands to address, this is a good step in a sustainable direction.

There are several ethical printer brands within our research that offer you options for an eco printer without compromising your values. For instance, Brother and Konica Minolta receive excellent scores within our research and were found to have a clean record on human rights issues. However, there are also other options within the green sections of our table, so check it out to see which other printer brands to buy from.

Is printing bad for the environment?

Is it actually necessary to buy a printer? Tablets and e-readers have made digital reading easier. Emails shouldn’t be printed unless absolutely necessary, and spreadsheet software is often free and of an amazing quality. 

You can print at libraries, universities and community centres for a small cost. Or why not share a printer with a friend or neighbour? 

See our Ethical Printers Ratings Table to compare brands