Printing is part of everyday activities in most offices and although electronic or paperless communication is preferable, printing can at times be inevitable. Printing can have a damaging impact on the environment and every office should strive to print as green as possible. Luckily, there are several easy to implement strategies that can make printing less harmful to the environment. Read on to learn how offices can save on their printing costs while doing their bit to stay green.
Eco-friendly printing starts with recycling
One of the easiest ways in which offices can print in an eco-friendlier way is to print using recycled materials. This includes using paper that is made from recycled pulp and choosing printing consumables that also contain recycled materials. Some printer manufacturers choose to use recycled plastic obtained from used cartridges to make new cartridges, thus reducing the environmental impact of printing.
By choosing to recycle the waste products that offices generate and by buying products that contain recycled components the environmental impact of printing documents can be drastically reduced.
Choose equipment wisely
It is important to consider environmental factors when choosing printing equipment. Large laserjets can be power-hungry devices so choosing a model that has a high energy efficiency rating reduces the cost of your printing while also being kinder to the environment.
Offices should also invest in printers that make use of software to further reduce the impact of printing. This could include functions like automatic double-sided printing and an “eco” printing mode that uses less toner to print documents. Also, opt for printers that have been manufactured with recycled components to keep the impact on mother nature as low as possible.
Re-use paper as much as possible before discarding it
Get the most out of every sheet of paper by re-using it when possible. This can be done by printing on the clean side of one-sided documents that are no longer needed or even cutting larger pieces of paper to create notes that staff can use to jot down reminders. This reduces the overall running costs of every office and significantly reduces the environmental impact of printing.
Use advanced software features to reduce the amount of printing in your office
We all know the dreaded feeling of having accidentally printed a document that contains an error or needs more information. This happens frequently and it is one of the main sources of print wastage. By using advanced printing software that includes features such as two-factor authentication before a document is printed, the number of misprinted documents can be significantly reduced.
Also, consider using collated printing for internal office documents or even sharing documents with co-workers when possible. There are several software solutions available that aim to reduce the printing costs of companies and investing in any of them is always a good idea. That said, sometimes the simplest way to reduce printing costs is by making it a bit more difficult to print. Consider replacing individual printers with larger and more efficient shared printers. If employees need to walk to the printer instead of just reaching out a hand to the closest printer they might consider twice before printing a document. This also has the added health benefit of keeping people moving throughout the day instead of remaining behind their desks.
Print only when it is necessary!
We all are guilty of clicking on print too often. We often print documents that are not needed, and this can be avoided by only printing when it is necessary. Offices can invest in paperless technology that reduces the need for printing while still meeting all legal and other requirements. A good example of this is using email to send invoices to clients instead of printing them out and sending them via snail mail.
Email is far easier and quicker to use when messages or notices need to be distributed to many people and using this method instead of printed memorandums can further decrease the eco footprint that an office’s printing activities leave behind. This also applies to students and other groups of people who need to print documents often.
Yes, printing can be an unavoidable part of our everyday lives and some documents simply must be printed. However, most of the documents that we print every day are not needed. We often click on print simply as a matter of convenience and without thinking twice.
To protect the environment that we live in, we need to reduce the environmental impact of daily activities like printing documents. Think twice before printing, not only will you notice the difference in costs, but you will also contribute to a greener world for everyone.
Greg Tuohy is the managing director of Docutec, a managed print service and office automation business based in Ireland. Docutec understand that business printers need to be managed correctly to help with reducing printing for a greener future.