YouGov Survey Reveals UK Consumers Are Wasting a Combined £440m Buying Branded Printer Cartridges

Households could typically save £43.65 a year by switching to private-label versions

Patrick Stead, founder and chief executive of Environmental Business Products (Photo: Business Wire)

LONDON--()--Switching from branded inkjet printer cartridges to private label versions could save UK households a combined £440m per year, according to new YouGov research commissioned by Environmental Business Products (

The survey of 2,000 UK households revealed that the average home gets through 4.85 cartridges a year with half of those questioned admitting they only ever buy branded cartridges from printer manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard, Epson, Lexmark or Canon.

Branded cartridges typically cost £30 each, which creates an annual bill of £145.50, exactly the same as a television licence. If the loyal buyers of branded cartridges - approximately 10.1m households - instead bought private label versions from high-street retailers and supermarkets, which are around 30% cheaper, they would save £43.65 per household per annum or a combined £440m. Currently only 18% of households exclusively buy private-label versions.

Key findings are that UK households…

• an average of 4.85 cartridges a year which, when multiplied by a typical branded unit cost of £30, equals an annual bill of £145.50

• ...could each save £43.65 a year by switching to private-label products from retailers such as WH Smith

• 10% of households buy 10 or more cartridges a year giving a potential saving of £90 each per year

• 81% of UK households have an inkjet printer, but…

• only 18% buy private-label retailer cartridges that are 25% to 35% cheaper than branded versions

• 66% say a cheaper price is likely to encourage them to switch from printer manufacturers cartridges to retailers’ versions

• 43% would be motivated to switch cartridges because of environmental credentials

Patrick Stead, founder and chief executive of Environmental Business Products, which supplies private-label cartridges to many high street retailers across Europe including Office Depot, Viking Direct and WH Smith, said: “When most items in the shopping basket are rising in price, the printer cartridge is one product where there are easy savings to be made, so it is surprising that so many people continue to pay a premium.

“Buying a private-label ink cartridge gives consumers a saving of 25% to 35% which is very welcome at any time, but especially in the current climate. Once people realise there is no compromise in quality, regardless of misleading propaganda, they’re likely to stick with the cheaper option rather than returning to branded.”

As well as being cheaper, private-label cartridges labelled as remanufactured – like those made by Environmental Business Products – are also better for the environment. Empty cartridges are collected, thoroughly cleaned and refilled for resale thereby preventing unnecessary waste. While 66% of respondents revealed a cheaper price was more likely to encourage them to switch, 43% would also be motivated to do so by environmental credentials.

Patrick Stead commented: “Consumers don’t have to choose between price on one hand and the environment on the other as remanufactured cartridges score on both counts. While price provides the main reason to change, the environmental benefits of doing so are a good secondary motivator.

“The only thing wrong with an empty cartridge is that it has run out of ink, so throwing millions of them in the bin every year is extremely wasteful. Remanufacturing empty cartridges is far better for the environment than sending them to landfill where they will take up to 1,000 years to degrade. It’s better to reuse than recycle in the traditional way which uses an industrial process to break a product down to constituent parts, not all of which can be re-used.”

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Suzanne Ellis
+44 (0) 207 457 2059

Release Summary

YouGov survey reveals UK households could collectively save £440m a year by switching from branded inkjet printer cartridges to cheaper private-label alternatives


Suzanne Ellis
+44 (0) 207 457 2059