Download the Enterprise Printer Cartridge Policy docx format of Enterprise Printer Cartridge Acquisition Policy

Reference #: Ent-Pol-Tech-3.1

Issue Date: 10/27/12

Issue #: 1


Table of Contents                                                                       

I. Executive Summary

II. Who This policy applies to

III. Policy Statement

IV. Scope

V. Printer Warranty Advisory

VI. Roles and Responsibilities

VII. Related Documents

VIII. Contact

IX. Terms

X. Document History


In support of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Executive Order 515, Establishing an Environmental Purchasing Policy, the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) and the Operational Services Division (OSD) have collaborated to issue this Enterprise Printer Cartridge Acquisition Policy. The purpose of the policy is to establish requirements for the purchase and recycling of laser printer toner cartridges aimed at increasing the purchase and use of remanufactured laser printer cartridges throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Department agencies by 40% during Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) and by a minimum of 10% annually thereafter.

The goal of the Commonwealth is to ultimately ensure that a minimum of 80% of all laser printer toner cartridge purchases by Executive Departments are remanufactured.  As a result of this focused shift to remanufactured laser printer toner cartridges, the Commonwealth will not only reduce its environmental footprint by diverting tons of plastic and other materials from the waste stream, but will potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and work toward stimulating local manufacturing operations within Massachusetts.

Remanufactured laser printer toner cartridges are cartridges that have been used one or more times, completely disassembled to replace worn parts, and remanufactured by a company that is certified by the Standardized Test Methods Committee (STMC) to ensure that they are restored to their Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) high performance and function.  Visit the link referenced at the end of this document for additional information on the remanufacturing process and required STMC certification for these products.  Once the reliability of other types of remanufactured cartridges is proven, this policy will be amended to include those products as well.

II.  Who This Policy Applies To

The following entities must adhere to this policy (Applicable Entities):

  1. Executive Department Agencies[1]; and
  2. Non-Executive Department Entities when such entities are using Commonwealth Information Technology Capital Funds to acquire the Information Technology commodities and/or services.

Funds to acquire the Information Technology commodities and/or services.
Other Commonwealth entities are strongly encouraged to adopt, at a minimum, policies and requirements in accordance with this policy, or adopt more stringent policies that reflect the overall purpose of this policy while addressing the entity’s specific business-related directives, laws, and regulations.

III.  Policy Statement 

All Executive Department agencies must purchase remanufactured printer cartridges as specified by OSD and must:

  • Use Statewide Contracts to purchase printer cartridges that meet the specific environmental and performance criteria established by OSD.
  • Use Statewide Contracts to ensure that printer cartridges are packaged, recycled and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.

This policy is effective as of the published date of this document.

IV.  Scope

To ensure that quality, high performance printer cartridges are procured; this policy is to be implemented in combination with the Statewide Contracts that are used to acquire printer cartridges and provide for their recycling/disposal.  It is through use of the Statewide Contracts that agencies will be able to enforce the specific environmental and performance criteria that are required of contracted suppliers.

The current Statewide Contracts include but are not limited to the following criteria:

  • Cartridge remanufacturers must be certified by the Standardized Test Methods Committee (STMC) of the International Imaging Technology Council (I-ITC) and included in the list of STMC Certified Companies on their website to verify that they have the test equipment printers and trained personnel for testing the STMC guidelines; In cases where an approved contract vendor obtains cartridges via a wholesale distributor, the distributor must clearly state on their website that their “remanufactured cartridges are STMC certified”.  Cartridges that contain only a minimum amount of reclaimed parts and new or new mold “compatible” cartridges and “refilled” inkjet cartridges are not considered remanufactured cartridges as specified under this contract, as performance issues have reportedly been associated with such products;
  • The remanufacturing process used to produce these cartridges should, at a minimum, meet the following specifications:
  • All components used in the construction of remanufactured cartridges provide equal OEM performance and function.
  • All components used in the construction of remanufactured cartridges have been dismantled and examined for damage and/or excessive wear and provide equal OEM performance and function standards which include, but are not limited to:
  • PCR Rollers are new or recoated (If applicable);
  • Cartridge must be sealed with a pressure sensitive seal that provides equal OEM performance and function; the seal is air tested at 2lbs for 30 seconds and leak proof.  The seal is readily removable by the user at time of installation.  Any cartridge that shows evidence of toner leakage through improper sealing will be replaced by the contractor; hard card seals or equivalent are acceptable when products are hand delivered.
  • OEM drums are replaced at the time of first cycle of remanufacture with a new long-life organophoto conductor (OPC) drum;  
  • Wiper blades are inspected and may be treated to comply with OEM performance and function and are acceptable for reuse;
  • Parts are inspected and replaced as needed, including but not limited to, pins, clips foams, doctor blades, mag rollers, and felts;
  • Print yields are equal to or exceed OEM stated yields for each cartridge.  Yield is determined by the use of the standard pattern.  See Statewide Contract details for specifics;
  • Serial number/lot number is visible to the end user;
  • Exterior surfaces are thoroughly cleaned, with all traces of old labels, and exterior toner removed entirely.
  • The current Statewide Contracts also articulate requirements to ensure that printer cartridges are packaged, recycled and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner:
  • Contract vendors must offer customers (at no additional charge) an effective, efficient and reliable means of returning all cartridges for proper recycling;
  • Packaging for all cartridges must be constructed to permit customers to easily repackage empty cartridges for return and recycling and must adequately protect the cartridge from light, heat, moisture and static electricity during shipping.

V.  Printer Warranty Advisory

Some printer manufacturers include printer warranty terms which claim that use of a product other than the printer manufacturer’s new, brand name toner cartridge will void the warranty on the printer. To protect Commonwealth public entities and bring printer manufacturers into compliance with this new Cartridge Acquisition Policy, OSD is including language in their statewide contract specifications for printing equipment to address this issue. In addition, OSD is working with printer equipment OEMs to enlist their support of the important environmental and economic benefits that result from acquiring quality remanufactured cartridges and ensure that printer warranties and service contracts do not preclude the use of such supplies.

VI.  Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities associated with implementation of and compliance with this policy are as follows:

The Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS), (led by the Assistant Secretary for Information Technology/Commonwealth’s Chief Information Officer) shall:

  • Collaborate with the Assistant Secretary for Operational Services, to approve and adopt this policy and its revisions.
  • Establish Enterprise Information Technology Policies and Standards for all Executive Department Agencies.

Assistant Secretary for Operational Services (also known as the Commonwealth’s Chief Procurement Officer and State Purchasing Agent) shall:

  • Collaborate with the Assistant Secretary for Information Technology to approve and adopt this policy and its revisions.
  • Establish the sourcing/procurement policies and procedures for all Executive Department Agencies.

Operational Services Division (OSD) (led by the Assistant Secretary for Operational Services) shall:

  • Establish Statewide Contracts for goods and services that ensure Best Value, provide customer satisfaction and support the socioeconomic and environmental goals of the Commonwealth, including those set forth in this policy.

Secretariat Chief Procurement Officer (SCPO) and Agency Chief Procurement Officer (ACPO), who report directly to their respective Secretariat and Agency and, on a dotted line basis, to the Assistant Secretary for Operational Services shall:

  • Ensure the adherence to all procurement laws, regulations (801 CMR 21.00), Executive Orders, policies and procedures, issued by the Operational Services Division and for adhering to this Enterprise Information Technology Acquisition Policy issued jointly by the Information Technology Division and the Operational Services Division.

Secretariat Chief Information Officers (SCIO) and Agency Heads shall:

  • Assume primary responsibility for exercising due diligence in adhering to the requirements contained in this policy;
  • Provide communication, training and enforcement of this policy that support the procurement goals of this policy as well as those of the Secretariat, its agencies and the Commonwealth.  

Applicable Entities

  • Ensure compliance with this policy , including adherence to this policy by all personnel conducting or participating in printer toner cartridge acquisitions on behalf of the Applicable Agency where such personnel includes, but is not necessarily limited to, employees, contractors, volunteers, and interns.

VII. Related Documents  

  1. Enterprise Information Technology Acquisition Policy
  2. Enterprise Desktop Power Management Standards
  3. Executive Order 515
  4. Guidance for Purchasing Quality Remanufactured Toner Cartridges
  5. 801 CMR 21.00
  6. Procurement Information Center
  7. International Imaging Technology Council (I-ITC)
  8. Related Contracts: Search
    OFF32, Photocopier, Facsimile, Digital Duplicator Equipment and Service; Photocopier, Facsimile, Digital Duplicator and Printer Supplies
    ITC44, IT Hardware, Computers, Laptops, Peripherals, NASPO/WSCA Agreement


VIII.  Contact

IX.  Terms

Key terms used in this policy have been provided below for your convenience.  For a full list of terms please refer to the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) web site where a full glossary of Commonwealth Specific Terms is maintained. 

Applicable Entities: Those entities identified under Section II of this Policy.

Best Value Procurement: See definition of “Best Value” in 801 CMR 21.02.  Best Value Procurement is further defined as: Obtaining goods or services at the best possible total cost of ownership, in the right quality and quantity, at the right time, in the right place and from the right source for the direct benefit of government, generally via a contract.  Procurement can refer to sourcing, buying, outsourcing, etc. of any resources.

Best Value:  The Commonwealth’s procurement principles state that it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth for solicitation Evaluation Criteria to measure factors beyond cost.  For IT Acquisitions, a best value evaluation should, at a minimum, consider total cost of ownership over the entire period the IT solution is required, identified business requirements, reliability, performance, scalability, security, maintenance requirements, legal risks, ease of customization, and ease of migration.

OEM (Original Equipment Manufactured): A “new” replacement cartridge made by the manufacturer of the printer itself; or an approved manufacturer of the OEM adhering to a specified set of specifications supplied by the OEM.

Recycled Cartridges: “Recycled” cartridge is a generic term that pertains to any cartridge that has been produced using parts and material recovered from previously used products regardless of the process or technology used. The term “recycled” should not be confused with the remanufactured cartridges as defined and specified in this policy.

Refilled Cartridges: "Refilled" usually indicates a recycling process that consists mainly of gaining access to the toner or ink container of a cartridge (sometimes puncturing a hole, sometimes partially disassembling the cartridge) and refilling it with new ink or toner. In most cases that is all that is done to the cartridge aside from inspecting it for obvious flaws and cleaning it. This simplified remanufacturing process gives these companies the ability to price their products lower than many competitors that sell quality remanufactured cartridges. With this process, quality and reliability is suspect.  Many buyers that have experienced problems with such refilled cartridges have erroneously considered them indicative of all remanufactured cartridges and lost faith in the industry. Refilled cartridges are not considered remanufactured cartridges under this policy. 

Compatible and / or Generic: New or new mold Compatible cartridges are not remanufactured products.  They are “new” cartridges made by companies other than the OEM.  These cartridges contain new components and are reverse engineered to function in printing equipment.  Typically, the parts to a new compatible cartridge, although new, are not parts supplied by the OEM; the parts are sourced from third-party sources; this is an important distinction. See more information on these and other issues related to remanufactured cartridges in the Guidance Paper under the “Related Documents” section of this policy.

Printer Toner Cartridges

For purposes of this policy, printer toner cartridges are defined as laser printer toner cartridges and will not include inkjet printer cartridges. A laser printer toner cartridge contains toner (a powder) and is meant for a xerographic printer. In contrast, an inkjet cartridge contains a liquid ink formulation and is designed for an inkjet printer. The remanufacturing of inkjet cartridges is often not as reliable as the process for laser printer cartridges; thus until improvements in that process are implemented and recognized as high quality by certifiers such as STMC, they are excluded from this policy.


Remanufactured cartridges are original OEM cartridges which have been through at least one cycle of service. These used cartridges are collected by third-party manufacturers and remanufactured. A remanufactured cartridge can typically cost thirty to sixty percent less and provide numerous environmental benefits. A general description of an acceptable remanufacturing process is included in the Scope section  of this policy.


IX.  Document History



Effective Date

Next Review Date

10/27/2012Document Published10/27/20121/1/2013
12/21/15Accessibility remediation – no content changes2/22/161/1/17


[1] The Executive Department is comprised of the Executive Branch minus the Constitutional Offices, i.e., the State Auditor, State Treasurer, the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and the Governor’s Office.