This inkjet printer is still functional, but was open by our volunteers Jack and Ben and is part of the Open Institute’s exhibit The Future of Open in London until July 3
Inkjet printers have been very common at our Restart Parties, since the very beginning. In many occasions, the meticulous work of our wonderful Restarters has helped to clean, repair, defeat planned obsolescence and give a second life to printers that were just about ready to be taken to a recycling centre.
However, we know that fixing broken printers is not enough. This week we are exhibiting a “transparent” open printer as part of the The Future of Open‘s exhibition in London, to help visualise how printers work.
Next week we begin working on rethinking future inkjet printers, particularly how they could be made better, with better durability, ease of maintenance and less wasteful operation.
We have to pinch ourselves when we realise that we have thrown 27 Restart Parties in the past year, involving and empowering over 500 Londoners of all ages, backgrounds and groups. Together we have saved an approximate 393 kilograms of electronics from waste, which James from AccessSpace in Sheffield points out, is roughly the weight of a polar bear.
Anne, who brought a broken printer, told us she would have literally gone to the store today to buy another, had we not spent an hour with her Epson. After researching chips, ink pads, and other common problems, it turned out there was a piece of sellotape stuck on one of the rollers!
We have started to notice what we call an increasing ‘disquiet’ with the way we consume technology. The iPhone is the most common trigger for this feeling, but it is symbolic of greater unease with short lifecycle of e-stuff, sandwiched by concerns about production, supply chains and then disposal.
We don’t tend to like to use guilt as a driver for behaviour change. But there is something so powerful about South African photographer Pieter Hugo’s work on e-waste recyclers in Ghana, that we could not resist sharing.