(Photo: Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler/Wikimedia Commons)Epson, the Japanese hardware corporation best known for its printers, is sunsetting its laser printer division due to sustainability concerns. The company has quietly chosen to stop selling laser printer hardware by 2026. The company will instead focus on its more environmentally-friendly inkjet printers, according to a statement obtained by The Register. Although the company stopped selling laser printers in the United States a while back, it had maintained the line in other markets, including Europe and Asia. Consumers will no longer be able to purchase new Epson laser printers as of 2026, but Epson has promised to continue supporting existing customers via supplies and spare parts.

Epson itself claims its inkjets are up to 85 percent more energy efficient than its laser units and produce 85 percent less carbon dioxide. These statistics might not matter to individuals who occasionally print at home, but they provide businesses and nonprofit organizations with a way to cut down on their energy bills and carbon footprint.

Inkjets typically require fewer single-use resources, too. While laser printers rely on toner, fusers, developer, and other disposable parts, inkjets simply use an ink and waste ink box. Not only do inkjet printers produce nearly 60 percent less e-waste than their laser counterparts, but their production is a bit kinder to the environment as well: creating one toner cartridge requires burning anywhere from half a gallon to a full gallon of oil.

(Photo: DragonLord/Wikimedia Commons)

The decision to end all laser printer sales is likely a part of Epson’s “Environmental Vision 2050,” a circular economic model the company first committed to in 2018 and revised last year. Its biggest focus is Epson’s promise to become carbon-negative and “underground resource free” by 2050.

That said, inkjet printers aren’t the definitive solution to sustainable printing that Epson would like consumers to believe them to be. Inkjet cartridges dry out relatively quickly, resulting in some printer users buying more ink than they actually use. Inkjet printing costs more per page, too, which means the energy savings gleaned from ditching a laser printer might just be compensated for during use. Epson has also been in hot water recently for forcing some printer users to visit an authorized repair person to fix suddenly-bricked machines. Some Epson L360, L130, L220, L310, and L365 users even have to replace their machines altogether, which only puts more money in Epson’s pocket while producing seemingly unnecessary e-waste.

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