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[Interview] Epson’s Regional Head on the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainability


Epson has announced selling over 90 million EcoTank printers globally as of December 2023 signifying a major step towards reducing reliance on ink cartridges and contributing to environmental sustainability. This accomplishment has led to a significant reduction of 756,752 tons of CO2 emission from consumables.

In this interview, Epson’s Regional Head for East and West Africa Mukesh Bector sheds light on the company’s commitment to innovation and its dedication to providing sustainable solutions. These initiatives are designed to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and improve efficiency over time, marking Epson’s role in promoting eco-friendly practices within the industry.

Can you elaborate on the technology behind EcoTank printers that allows for such a significant reduction in plastic use compared to traditional ink cartridges?

Epson introduced a significant shift in printing technology by employing a large, refillable ink tank system rather than using the traditional cartridge-based system in its EcoTank printers. From the outset, this design provides users with a substantial volume of ink, enough to print up to 14,000 pages. This not only offers a considerable time and cost-saving advantage but also substantially decreases the environmental footprint associated with frequent cartridge replacements. The process of setting up the EcoTank printer is designed to be straightforward, ensuring that refilling ink is not only free of mess but also efficient and reliable.

An intriguing aspect of the EcoTank system is the cost efficiency it brings to consumers. The initial ink set provided, which comprises four bottles, equates to the volume of ink typically found in 79 traditional ink cartridges. This remarkable ratio underscores the savings potential, with Epson estimating that users can save up to 90% on ink costs over the life of the printer. These calculations are grounded in a comparative analysis of the average cost per page when using the EcoTank system versus traditional cartridge systems, taking into account the average yield of ink bottles and cartridges within the EcoTank A4 4-color range.

By including up to three years’ worth of ink with each printer, we not only emphasize the long-term savings and reduced environmental impact but also showcase our commitment to providing solutions that are both economically and ecologically beneficial. 

This approach highlights our dedication to innovation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, marking the EcoTank printer as a pivotal development in the realm of printing technology.

With over 90 million EcoTank printers sold worldwide, how has this achievement impacted the company’s sustainability goals and practices?

According to the sustainable development goals [SDGs] adopted by the United Nations, Epson prioritizes the creation of technology products with sustainability at their core, aiming to address pressing environmental problems. Our dedication lies not just in producing innovative technologies, but in ensuring that these advancements serve to resolve global issues, enhance sustainability, and provide benefits to communities worldwide. 

Apart from the reduction of plastic use, EcoTank printers are said to have contributed to a significant decrease in CO2 emissions. Can you explain the process and calculations behind this claim?=

When assessing carbon emissions, companies usually examine energy use across their operations, including how they use technology. Epson’s EcoTank printers stand out for their innovative approach to reducing carbon emissions through technology. Unlike traditional laser printers that rely on heat, EcoTank’s Heat-Free piezo-electric print head technology uses pressure to eject ink, which significantly cuts down energy consumption.

This approach is simple but highly effective, supporting sustainability by reducing environmental impact. With businesses increasingly focusing on eco-friendly practices, adopting such technologies is key. The benefits include lower energy costs, improved productivity due to reduced downtime and maintenance, and a smaller environmental footprint. 

Can you discuss any challenges faced during the development and market introduction of EcoTank printers, particularly in convincing consumers to shift from traditional ink cartridge models?

In today’s fast-paced world, people are constantly looking for ways to stay organized, productive, and entertained without breaking the bank. This demand pushes the envelope for innovative, cost-effective solutions. The introduction of EcoTank printers into the market is a direct response to this need, but it comes with its set of challenges.

Traditionally, consumers have leaned towards ink cartridge printers, a familiar territory with a long history. Changing habits and perceptions that have been built over decades is no small feat. People are used to the cycle of buying and replacing cartridges, despite voicing concerns over the costs and environmental impact.

EcoTank printers represent a shift towards sustainability and cost efficiency. They require a higher initial investment but promise significant savings on ink in the long run. The hurdle is in convincing consumers to see past the immediate price tag and understand the long-term benefits. This involves a dedicated effort to educate the market, a task made complex by existing purchasing habits and a general skepticism towards new claims of saving money.

The environmental aspect cannot be ignored either. As awareness grows, so does the concern over the waste generated by traditional ink cartridges. EcoTank printers offer a more sustainable alternative, reducing the environmental footprint and meeting the consumer’s growing demand for products that are kind to our planet.

To navigate these challenges, we’ve adopted a comprehensive strategy that includes investing in advanced technology and design, ramping up our market education initiatives, and focusing on the environmental advantages of EcoTank printers. This multi-pronged approach is essential for reshaping consumer perceptions and habits, ushering in a new era of printing that is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

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