HP Makes Ink Cartridges from Recycled Plastic Bottles in Haiti

HP Inc. reports that it’s introduced its first Original HP ink cartridges made with plastic recovered from bottles recycled in Haiti.

The joint initiative aims to improve the lives of the children in Haiti who collect recyclable materials by providing them with educational opportunities, including scholarships, as well as full access to medical care and health and safety training.

Made possible through a close partnership with Thread and the First Mile Coalition, the firm says this launch exemplifies HP’s efforts to reinvent how products are designed, manufactured, used, and recovered in the shift toward a circular and low-carbon economy.

Reflecting a commitment made in September 2016, HP now purchases recycled plastic collected in Haiti. By opening a new market opportunity, generating a steady revenue stream and partnering to improve conditions for workers, it says it’s helping to create jobs and bring dignity to the collectors of recyclables in Haiti. It also says that the program helps prevent plastics from reaching the Caribbean Sea, combatting the ever-growing problem of ocean pollution.

Spearheaded by Thread, the First Mile Coalition addresses child labor in the “First Mile” of global-supply chains, beginning with communities that neighbor the Truitier landfill, the largest landfill in Haiti. Other members of the coalition include Timberland, Team Tassy, and ACOP (Association des Collecteurs des Objets en Plastique).

Over 300 children currently collect recyclable materials from the Truitier landfill. These children and their families are exposed daily to hazardous working conditions. The joint initiative aims to improve the lives of the children by providing them with educational opportunities, including scholarships, as well as full access to medical care and health and safety training. Other partners provide job training for the adult family members of the children who are also working in the landfill, and will invest over $150,000 in entrepreneurs, microenterprises ,and/or small-to-medium enterprises in targeted neighborhoods.

HP says it’s long been an industry leader in closed-loop recycling, combining material from products returned by its customers through the HP Planet Partners program with other post-consumer materials to create new Original HP cartridges. Through 2016, the company has manufactured more than 3.4 billion HP ink and toner cartridges using more than 88,900 tonnes of recycled content material, including 3.7 billion post-consumer plastic bottles.

Today, it says that more than 80 percent of HP ink cartridges contain 45–70 percent recycled content, and 100 percent of HP toner cartridges contain 10–33 percent recycled content. By making Haiti a starting point of the supply chain, HP says it’s “going beyond the boundaries of its sustainable legacy by enabling social and environmental change.”

“HP has been committed to sourcing materials responsibly and treating all workers with respect for decades,” said Stuart Pann, HP Chief Supply Chain Officer. Our work in Haiti enables us to reach the vulnerable collectors in Haiti and make their plastic part of our supply chain—which creates economic opportunities and a better quality of life for these families.”

Sustainable supply chains have to start from the bottom up, and the First Mile of the supply chain is where we thrive,” said Ian Rosenberger, Founder and CEO of Thread. “While Thread usually makes yarn for apparel brands, some of the waste Thread entrepreneurs process is more suited for other products. In this case, we are proud this partnership can expand Thread’s mission to improve working conditions for collectors and create consistent urban markets for the poor.”

“The work that [Thread and] HP are doing helps me get my children to school, and helps me pay for my home,” said Rosette Altidor, a Haitian collection center owner. “It motivates me to motivate others to collect plastic as well. Everyone can benefit from clean-up work in Haiti.”

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