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2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report


The variety of advanced technologies in Lexmark printers lends itself to the inclusion of many different material types. Lexmark printers contain a broad range of materials from plastics to metals to ceramics. The largest quantity by volume are plastics like high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Other plastics used include polyesters and polyamides and filled or blended versions of these materials. These plastics are generally manufactured from gas and petroleum feedstocks, but recycled plastic supplies are also used. The metal content in Lexmark printers is dominated by steel products sourced from both recycled and new feedstocks. Many other metals, ceramics and semiconductors are used in smaller components of the systems.

Lexmark printers and supplies are packaged using materials derived from both renewable and non-renewable sources. Packaging materials derived from renewable sources include corrugated (cardboard) boxes, cushioning materials made of molded pulp and wooden pallets. Packaging materials derived from non-renewable sources include cushioning materials made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or expanded polypropylene (EPE), polyethylene bags, fasteners including staples, twist ties and tape, plastic pallets, plastic strapping and plastic stretch wrap.

Post Consumer Recycled Content

Minimum Recycled Content of Packaging Materials
Material Minimum Recycled Content Specified
Corrugated Fibreboard 25 percent
EPS Foam 5 percent
Molded Pulp 100 percent

When specifying materials used in printers, supplies and packaging, Lexmark strives to utilize post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. Use of PCR materials can have a positive impact on the environment, reducing both consumption of natural resources and the amount of waste in landfills.

Lexmark recognizes the environmental benefits of reutilizing metal content, understanding that recycled metal stock can be used for some, but not all metal components. Published industry averages indicate that many commercial grades of steel commonly contain between 30 to 80 percent recycled content. Lexmark is committed to utilizing these grades wherever possible.

Consistent use of post-consumer plastics has been a more significant challenge for both Lexmark and the electronics industry as a whole. Despite the environmental benefits of recycled plastics, the technical difficulties of the process have caused widespread recycling of engineering plastics to lag behind the recycling of metals and commodity plastics. Using new technologies, the plastics recycling industry has begun to overcome these hurdles and may soon achieve products that allow more mainstream adoption of recycled engineering plastics.

Optra printerLexmark has been a leader in recycling its plastic feedstreams and using post-consumer plastic content in its products. In the mid-1990s, Lexmark worked to incorporate recycled plastics in its Optra series of printers, utilizing a controlled North American feedstream and in some cases closed-loop materials.

In recent years, changing regulations have led to an increase in suppliers offering quality recycled plastic materials. Lexmark engineers have studied the broader use of post-consumer recycled plastic in our products. Study of new grades and sources has shown that monitoring the consistency of both supply and quality of post consumer plastic is of critical importance.

This research has identified a number of PCR resin suppliers with grades that have desirable properties and compare favorably with their virgin counterparts. As they are approved, grades with suitable quality and competitive pricing will make their way into Lexmark products.

In one example of these efforts, engineers for the Lexmark C790 series of laser printers were able to incorporate high-impact polystyrene derived from used electronic waste into several components of the printer, boosting its post-consumer recycle plastic content to four percent from zero percent in previous models. This achievement is especially notable for its closed-loop use of electronic waste into new electronic products.

Closed-Loop Recycling

Lexmark continues to innovate with closed-loop toner cartridge recycling operations. Capitalizing on its award-winning Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program, Lexmark’s engineers are able to reclaim a feedstream of high-impact polystyrene plastic. After returning this material to near virgin quality, it is incorporated into new toner cartridges. This material contributes to Lexmark’s industry leading 10 percent average post-consumer plastic content across Lexmark-branded toner cartridges.

Lexmark also continues to sustain its closed-loop recycling of inkjet cartridge plastic. It reclaims cartridge bodies from its return program and reutilizes this material at a 25 percent level in a closed-loop recycled plastic used for manufacturing components for new Lexmark-branded inkjet cartridges.

These two programs led Lexmark to be the first printer manufacturer to successfully implement a closed-loop recycling system for both ink and toner cartridges. This is one of the key principles of sustainability: taking material from recovered products, bringing it back to the raw material state and using it again to make the same product. Lexmark is proud to have achieved this milestone in its recycling programs.

Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS)

When specifying materials used in printers, supplies and packaging, Lexmark also evaluates compliance with material restriction directives and legislation. Lexmark complies with international legislation that restricts the use of substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants, as outlined in the European Union’s 2003 passage of the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS). In fact, a few years before the RoHS requirements went into effect, Lexmark completely eliminated PBBs and PBDEs from our products. Since July 1, 2006, all Lexmark products, including the ink and toner cartridges (which are not included in the scope of the RoHS), have been fully compliant with the RoHS directive.

Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)

The European Union has adopted the Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS). Lexmark is committed to providing RoHS compliant products to world markets.

The RoHS directive limits the amount of four metals (lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium) and two brominated flame retardants (poly brominated biphenyl
and poly brominated diphenyl ether) that can exist in a product. Some of these materials are related to basic technology of electronics and the elimination will impact technical product designs throughout the electronics industry.

Lexmark is developing new products and working closely with all of our suppliers to ensure that all materials going into Lexmark products are compliant with the RoHS directive. Lexmark is committed to continuously improving the environmental design of all of our products and services. The reduction of environmentally
harmful materials such as the ones in the RoHS directive is a part of our commitment.

The Lexmark vision is Customers For Life, and we believe the best way to ensure this is by designing superior products that deliver the ultimate printing solutions for
our customers.

Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)

Lexmark, in cooperation with our suppliers, ensures that proper processes are in place for our continued compliance with international material restriction regulations including the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) regulation, which seeks to improve the public health and the environment by controlling the production and use of harmful chemical substances. In 2008, Lexmark completed the first steps of REACH, including pre-registration, material review and required communications associated with the initial release of the Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list of chemicals. As REACH evolves with chemical registration deadlines and new chemicals being added to the SVHC list on a regular basis, Lexmark will continue to track REACH developments and comply with all requirements of the REACH legislation. More information regarding Lexmark’s REACH initiatives can be made available to our customers by request.

Montreal Protocol

Lexmark products also follow the Montreal Protocol. Lexmark prohibits the use of ozone-depleting chemicals in the manufacture and development of Lexmark products.


Lexmark aggressively tests recycled papers - specifically papers made with 30 percent, 50 percent and 100 percent post-consumer recycled content - on all Lexmark imaging devices. Our expectation is that the runnability of recycled papers in Lexmark devices will be equivalent to the runnability of virgin fiber paper. While no all-encompassing official standard exists for office equipment use of paper, Lexmark has studied and employed European Standard EN12281 as a minimum properties and runnability guide for test paper. Test paper includes 100 percent recycled papers from Europe and Asia, to ensure breadth of testing, as well as testing at eight percent to 80 percent relative humidity, in an attempt to cover all physical paper variables relevant to office equipment use. Testing includes automatic and manual duplex printing which has the potential to be challenging with some recycled papers.

Lexmark has begun offering a limited number of environmentally preferable papers for sale in the Europe. Lexmark’s PerfectFinish photo paper is made with materials harvested from Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certified forests. This paper is readily available at retail in Europe and on the Lexmark Web site in Europe.

Customers using Lexmark devices have many choices when it comes to the types of environmentally preferable paper they can use. Customers can use general office paper that meets EN12281 and:

  • Has renewable content or
  • That is made from recycled content or
  • That is chlorine free

Material Safety Data Sheets

Current Material Safety Data Sheets are available on the Lexmark Web site. Click Here