ConeColor's ambitious mission is to help you find harmony with the color workflow of your printer and at the same time to help you protect the world's ecology.
While I love digital printmaking and have been involved with its since its inception, I'm concerned that the current generation of EPSON printers require ink cartridges that contain an ink memory semiconductor chip. While this chip is a very accurate way to remember how much ink has been printed, its absence will disable the printer and make it inoperable. The chip therefore acts as a convenience and perhaps as a tool of advancement in managing the consumables of your printer. But, it also acts as a device which will force the user to throw away the cart once its depleted. Once the chip reports to the printer that its ink supply is depleted, the printer becomes inoperable. Because the standard cart can not be refilled, and because EPSON does not supply its inks in a manner that encourages refilling, we think that the world is ready for ConeColor inks.
We believe that semiconductor manufacturing is harmful to the earth and its workers who make these chips in factories in Asia, Europe, North America and other places in the world. Semiconductor chip manufacturing requires exposing workers to highly corrosive hydrochloric acid; metals such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead; volatile solvents such as methyl chloroform. Tolulene, benzene, acetone, and trichloroethylene; and toxic gases such as arsine. Many of these chemicals are known or probable human carcinogens. Although semiconductor chip manufacturing is less toxic that it was a decade ago, we believe that the best solution is to reduce the amount of semiconductors being thrown away because the operation required to reset them takes only a few seconds. Reusing the cartridge again is the best form of recycling.
While semiconductor chips are relatively benign once they have been manufactured, the average user throws away one-time-use plastic carts that can not be recycled easily because they still contain a certain amount of ink as well as a semiconductor chip. I do not believe that incinerating is a low-impact choice if refilling is safer for the environment. Because you may need only one refillable cartridge set for the life of your printer, you will be dramatically reducing the amount of plastic cartridges that you would otherwise throw away and would find their way into your local landfills. You will also be lowering the amounts of wastewater and toxins required to manufacture semiconductor chips. Imagine the impact on the environment if you threw away each and every memory card that you used in your digital camera.
October 2007 Jon Cone