In 2019, I abruptly found myself as my son’s teacher due to Covid-19. His success at academics when not being forced to deal with the pressures of school lead me to start homeschooling him. This also means a lot more printing than I have ever done before.
I’m not exactly sure how old my last printer was, but suffice it to say it was older than that and has to be unplugged and replugged in, talked to, babied, and sometimes hit a couple of times to get it to work. Recently it has given up the ghost entirely, and refuses to work no matter how much I baby it.
My little printer has been through a lot, and I can safely say that I have squeezed every possible drop of use out of it. Now that it’s time has come, I wanted to choose a replacement that really made a difference. My choice was the “EcoTank” printer.
As far as I can tell, it’s actually the only printer marketed as ecofriendly. I can only imagine how many other people are interested in whether this printer lives up to the ecofriendly hype, and also if it actually works as a printer. Here’s my experience.
Although it wasn’t boxed inside of another box like some of the packages I have received in the past, this came with a lot of packaging. I’ve included a picture of all the packaging that it comes with. Styrofoam blocks kept the printer from getting banged around in the box, everything that opens or moves on the printer was taped shut, and everything was in a plastic bag.
We reached out to Epson to find out exactly how much of this packaging is recyclable or compostable, and if they’ve made any effort to reduce packaging. As of the writing of this article, we have not gotten a reply.
Getting the ink into the printer is easy. You open the bottle, open a small panel where the ink is, uncork the correct ink section, and dump her in. It doesn’t leak even when you’re lifting up or setting it down.
Just as I was congratulating myself on getting a printer that’s sooooo easy to set up, it began ‘test printing’ dozens of pages with like 5 lines of text. My husband said to just let it do it’s thing but after a half inch stack of paper came out I had an eye twitch and just couldn’t do it anymore.
Driver setup was horrible. If you use the USB port to connect your printer, and you try to check the “Skip this” section, it freezes the program 100% of the time. This is a huge error and made it very frustrating.
While I don’t think the program should freeze under any circumstances, I did figure out eventually that the error was mine for it not connecting. The printer will not recognize the usb cord unless it is plugged in after it starts looking for it.
It then shot yet more paper at me, using my printer ink and paper for a useless “congratulations it’s set up” paper. Seriously, you could make a book with all this wasted paper.
So was my setup experience absolutely horrible? Yes. Do I think Epson actually cares about the environment based on this printer? No. Realistically though, has setting up a printer ever been a smooth and delightful experience for me? Never. Has any printer I’ve ever purchased ever been environmentally friendly? No.
I hated every moment of the setup process, but I can’t specifically say it was worse than any other time I’ve set up a printer. I’m pretty sure my blood pressure skyrocketed for the last one too.
The quality of the 31 test pages it printed off before I canceled the print job looked good. Color prints and black and whites for my kid’s schoolwork look great. Thus far I have not needed to refill, and the ports that let you view the ink haven’t changed since the lowering from “Charging” the printer.
The printer does allow for double sided printing, but for an environmentally themed printer, I would expect it to be a little more developed. Essentially it will print one side and wait until you’ve flipped the page before continuing printing.
Even my last printer, which was pretty old, sucked it back in and flipped it for you.
When the printer needs an update, it punishes you for using it by obnoxiously printing its need to be updated on your current prints, ruining the piece you’ve printed. It also prints the need for it every time you turn it off.
This is NOT eco friendly!
This printer is more environmentally friendly than other printers as far as the ink goes. The eco tank saves on printer cartridges, and less plastic is involved with refill bottles. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like Epson really made an effort in the environmental aspects of this printer. There’s a lot of packaging waste and a lot of missed opportunities when it comes to paper waste.
I’ve reached out to Epson to discuss the eco side of things, and I hope they’ll be open to making adjustments on this printer for a fully environmentally friendly product. (Update 1/23/23: No reply and it has been months. They really don’t care.)
Until then my current verdict is: This is probably the most environmentally friendly ‘new’ printer you can get on the market, but you’ll probably save more plastic buying a second hand printer not wrapped in a thick layer of plastic wrap, tape, and foam packaging and simply getting the ink cartridges refilled.
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