Epson has announced it is exiting the laser printer business, citing environmental and business concerns.
Laser printers may be the preferred option for office environments, but customers will have one less choice as Epson exits the market and throws its full weight behind inkjet technology. The company said it will end all sales of laser printers by 2026, coinciding with increased investment in its Heat-Free inkjet tech. The company will, however, continue to offer existing customers repair parts and other consumables.
“We’ve long been committed to sustainable inkjet technology and have now decided to phase out sales of laser printer hardware,” said Koichi Kubota, general administrative manager of Epson’s Sales & Marketing Division. “As a company we’re totally committed to sustainable innovation and action, and inkjets simply use less energy and fewer consumable parts. While laser printers work by heating and fusing toner to a page, Epson’s Heat-Free inkjet technology consumes less electricity by using mechanical energy to fire ink onto the page.
“Our printing business will from now put the focus on inkjet, leveraging our propriety technology to deliver efficient, sustainable print solutions for our partners and end users.”
The news follows a study the company conducted in 2019 that shows a tremendous difference in the environmental impact between inkjet and laser printers.
“As Epson’s inkjet printers do not use heat in the printing process, they consume far less power than laser printers,” the company writes. “Epson’s inkjet printers consumes up to 85% less energy than a similar-speed laser printer which means for a typical office that requires frequent printing, this can amount to distinct savings in their annual energy bills.
“Epson inkjet printers also produce up to 85% less carbon dioxide than those of comparable laser printers2. This means that for every 6 cedar trees required to absorb the amount of carbon dioxide as a result of using a laser printer, an Epson inkjet printer requires only 1 cedar tree.”
The company also makes clear that inkjets are also the better option for customers, since they require far less replacement parts over the lifetime of the printer.
“In terms of waste generation, Epson inkjet printers come with fewer components that need replacing, making it more convenient to operate as it requires only changing the ink and waste ink box versus toner, drum, developer, fusers and more components for laser models,” the company adds. “This is not a tiny detail as – with up to 59% less replacement parts compared to laser printers3– it results in a significant reduced impact on the environment over the lifetime of a printer.”
Kudos to Epson for demonstrating that the responsible choice can also be one that is good for consumers and putting that choice above profits.