In the late 1980’s, the brilliant minds behind Xerox office equipment began developing a color printing technology that would be very simple for users and produce high-quality colors on standard paper without the need for a cartridge. The end result was a solid ink printer, which is still a technology unique to Xerox. What started as an attempt to simplify color printing has become a way for offices and homes to also reduce waste.
Laser and inkjet printers are the most commonly used machines in the world, generally because they are the most affordable upfront and replacement cartridges are inexpensive. Any company or individual that is concerned about the environment, however, should look into using a solid ink printer, to help reduce their carbon footprint.
How is Xerox Solid Ink Made?
Non-toxic liquid ink is hardened in a very specific shape, making a wax stick, similar to a crayon but far more complex in molecular nature. Each color for each model is shaped differently, thus making it difficult to install a solid ink stick into the wrong slot on a printer. When the printer is in use, the solid ink is actually melted back down to its liquid form and applied to the paper, where it once again hardens, but this time to make words and images on the page.
How does it reduce waste?
Beyond the boxes and shipping materials, inkjet and toner cartridges themselves create waste. When the ink or toner has been used and the cartridge is empty, it can be recycled and used again, though over 3 billion cartridges each year are just tossed in the trash. Ink sticks are considerably smaller than most toner cartridges and around the size of inkjet cartridges, thus minimizing the amount of packaging required to safely ship them to customers, and there is no cartridge to worry about.
For an inside look at solid ink printing technology, watch this video from Xerox: