On Wednesday, May 28, information technology company HP introduced its Instant Ink subscription service to consumers across the United Kingdom.
The service will allow individuals to pay a subscription fee to recycle their empty ink cartridges in return for refilled cartridges. HP wirelessly monitors compatible printers’ ink levels and sends new cartridges to subscribers when their current cartridges are getting low on ink.
According to a Digital Journal article, the UK launch of Instant Ink appears to be a trial run before the service is rolled out to North America and Continental Europe.
Customers can choose from a few different subscription packages — the lowest, at £1.99 ($3.35) per month, allots 50 pages of printing; £3.49 covers 100 pages per month and £7.99 covers 300, according to The Telegraph.
The Telegraph also reports that HP estimates customers will save up to 70% on the cost of printer ink. However, subscribers can only roll over as much as double their monthly page allowance to the next month, meaning the subscription is a waste of money for individuals who don’t print that much from their homes.
Wall Street Journal tech columnist Christopher Mims remarked on the true realities of paying for a printer ink subscription, according to The Telegraph:
“Instant Ink requires that users invest a lot of trust in HP,” Mims wrote. “It’s a bit like the telecoms’ model of pricing, in which you pay according to a fixed monthly plan, and additional pages (or minutes or texts) cost more. If user behavior for printing follows that of telecom customers, HP Instant Ink customers could end up overpaying. That might be because they opt for an overly roomy plan that they underuse, or because they have a spike of over-usage that drives them into a higher-volume plan that they rarely exhaust.”
For people who don’t print enough to warrant paying for a subscription, purchasing ink refill kits or reused inkjet cartridges can also dramatically reduce the cost of keeping a printer stocked with ink. Solid printer ink is also a viable option, as they are cartridge-free and are responsible for 90% less waste than a traditional ink cartridge.
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