How Canon does green

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Canon celebrated its 70th birthday in 2007 with much fan fare and record high net sales and income; clearly, Canon is committed to making and selling superior products.  What you may not realize is how committed they are – and have been – to “aid in preserving the environment while also contributing to a more comfortable and convenient sustainable society.”

To accomplish this goal, the company established the Global Environment Strategic Expert Committee to help management and employees take their green initiatives to the next level.

Canon USA has several projects, initiatives and products that further the company’s “green” goals including Generation Green, hardware and toner recycling, reduced packaging and environmentally friendly features.

In 2008, Canon USA announced the Generation Green initiative in January at Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  The product focused initiative is based on three main areas: Eco-Conscious, Eco-Standard and Eco-Friendly.

Eco-Conscious is focused on Canon product features that help users conserve energy and reduce waste. 

Eco-Standard concerns environmental certifications – Energy Star and RoHS – that keep harmful chemicals out of products and consumption low.

Eco-Friendly gives consumers a chance to get in on the action through Canon recycling programs.

That’s not all.  Once a year on Earth Day, Canon USA will give back through its Generation Green initiative.  In 2008, for every 10 Generation Green products registered Canon representatives planted one tree.  In all, they ended up planting 20,000 trees, mostly in San Bernardino, California, an area that has been ravaged by forest fires.

Canon followed up on this intiative in 2009 by making it even easier thanks to a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation.  For every five Generation Green products registered, Canon planted one tree.  In all, they surpassed 2008’s totals by over 10,000 trees, for a grand total of over 30,000 trees planted in state parks.

Announced on Earth Day 2010, Canon will be continuing the Canon Forest Program.  For every five Canon Generation Green products registered between May 1 and August 31, Canon will plant one tree in state parks throughout the U.S. with the help of the Arbor Day Foundation.

As an added bonus, Canon will plant one tree for every hardware item purchased through Shop Canon Direct from April 8 through May 20.

Eco-Friendly recycling
Canon started their toner recycling program in 1990 as a part of the Clean Earth Campaign.  Since then they have recycled 190,000 tons of toner cartridges and in 2004 they expanded their recycling facilities to include hardware.

At this time, Canon does not except inkjet cartridges as a part of their recycling program but they do realize customers are interested in a potential program.

To recycle through either of Canon’s programs, users will need to go to the Canon website.  You will find the hardware recycling form in Canon’s e-store; the cartridge return page can be found through the Canon USA: About Canon section.

As of this writing, all toner cartridges can be recycled at no additional charge but there is a small fee for hardware.  Depending on the hardware and the size, the fee usually runs from $5-$15 and covers shipping.

Eco-Conscious design and features
Canon has several eco-conscious features unique to its Generation Green line of printers including: Quick Start, Energy Saving, On-Demand SURF technology, and White LED.

Quick Start and Energy Saving are both about reducing the amount of energy used by individual devices.  You’ll find Quick Start on the green line of inkjets; it starts units within a matter of seconds allowing users to turn the machines off after use. Energy Saving is similar to sleep mode found on the consumer inkjet line only it applies to Canon’s green line of image Class laser printers.

On-Demand Surface Rapid Fixing (SURF) technology is also found on the image Class line of lasers; it uses a linear ceramic heater versus conventional rollers to heat print quickly and efficiently resulting in a reduction of energy consumption up to 75 percent.

White LED aids in the reduction of scanner size and warm up time with the end result of faster scan times and reduced energy consumption.  Unfortunately, White LED is only available on the Canon Pixma MP980 All-in-One printer and select stand-alone scanners.

But those aren’t the only eco-conscious features found on the Generation Green qualified printers; users will also find standard features such as automatic duplexing, ink and toner saving modes, and 2-in1/4-in-1 printing.

Canon has also reduced the size of the boxes that select inkjet printers are shipped in up to 25 percent resulting in greater shipping efficiency. 

Where they can’t reduce sizes, Canon brings in new materials.  Toner cartridges are shipped out in Canon’s unique Airshell packaging which reduces C02 emissions during transport by 23 percent or more.  Consumers may also notice that the inkjet cartridge packaging sold in Big Box stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.) is made from Nature Stone, a material made from stone that is tree free, water free and bleach free.

Provided by Canon

Eco-Standard certifications
Consumers may have heard the phrase “Energy Star Qualified” before when researching or purchasing various electronics.  Energy Star is a U.S. government program – run through the EPA and the Department of Energy – that determines whether a product is energy efficient; Qualified Energy Star products are 25 percent more efficient than their counterparts and automatically enter a low power mode when not in use. Every Canon Generation Green printer is Energy Star Qualified.

RoHS compliance may be a little less known to the average consumer.  This initiative was the brain child of the European Union (EU) and has since made its way overseas.  RoHS restricts the use of certain hazardous chemicals found in electronic products.  The list of chemicals include: mercury, lead, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB), and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE).  Again, every Generation Green printer is RoHS compliant.

Canon and Generation Green in the future
Canon and Canon USA have done much over the past year and the past 19 years to “aid in preserving the environment” but there is still much to be done.  I have no doubt that Canon will have new initiatives and more Generation Green qualified products in the future.

For more information on Generation Green or Canon’s Environmental Policy check out the Canon website.

For a list of all the Generation Green printers and their individual features, view Canon’s completed chart.

Visit our Earth Day 2010 roundup!



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