HP Goes Green with Eco Highlights and SmartWeb


This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on October 8, 2008.

hp eco highlights labelChecking labels is a part of any grocery shopping experience. Fat, calories, carbs, we know where to look to find them. HP is also now making checking the label a part of shopping for electronics.

The new Eco-Highlights label on HP products gives consumers details on energy consumption and the recyclability of the product.

The layout of the label will be familiar to shoppers as it looks very similar to the food labels we see in the grocery store.

“When you compare 2 printers, you can look not only at what they do, but you’ll understand the environmental footprint as well,” says Vernon Coutinho of HP Canada.

The Eco-Highlights label is just one of 3 steps HP is taking to reduce the impact printing can have on the environment.

48% of printing at home is simply printing off web pages. Usually we only want a small piece of information from a web site, and since the pages aren’t always formatted for printers, we end up reeling off a dozen or more pages of banner ads and useless text along with the few sentences we actually wanted.

HP’s free SmartWeb program works as a simple plug-in for Internet Explorer. It lets you drag a box around items you’d like to save from a webpage, and then cuts and pastes them into a document that easily prints only the information you need.

SmartWeb works with any printer, not just those from HP, and can cut down nearly 2/3 of your printing from the web.

In a demo, Vernon took 8 pages of winter vacation research, and using SmartWeb, printed all the information on only one page, even though he was using different websites.

You can also save your SmartWeb data as a PDF for future reference, or to easily email to your vacation partner.

The final piece of the HP green platform is recycling.

It’s not something new, there have been internal recycling efforts ongoing for nearly 20 years and for more than 10 at the consumer level – HP is just adding things like the Eco-Highlights label to bring more awareness to environmental conscious consumers.

“Printer cartridges are 100% recyclable, by HP,” says Coutinho. “We don’t just take some of the parts, we take all of it. Right now we’re making 200 million cartridges a year from recycled parts.”

Getting the used cartridges back to HP couldn’t be easier.

Many new ones come with a prepaid envelope to mail back when it’s empty. If you lose the envelope, you can go to hp.ca/recycling to print off a label and send it back for free. You can also return the empty cartridges to participating retailers, like Staples, and HP picks them up from there.

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