Printing is so quintessential to the modern office that it goes unnoticed – and it shouldn’t. Approximately three to five percent of an organization’s total operating expenses are eaten up by printing alone. Likewise, the Sierra Club estimates that the average employee prints roughly one tree’s worth of paper per year. This makes office printing both expensive and environmentally antagonistic. Looking for ways to implement sustainable printing practices? Here are ten tips and why they matter.
10 Tips to Implement Sustainable Printing Practices
1. Promote a paper-free culture.
Encourage employees to print less by making paper-free materials easy to access. For example, rather than printing PowerPoints and training material, use a Google Drive folder which employees can easily access.
2. Restrict the print environment.
It was once discovered that at least 60 percent of employees in Canada used workplace printers for personal projects. In actuality, that number is probably higher. Restricting access to the printer helps reduce printing by ensuring only what needs to print gets printed.
3. Print in black and white as often as possible.
Last year, market researcher InfoTrends found that required color-printing is increasing throughout offices. Color printing, however, is much more expensive because it requires more ink and different cartridges. Conversely, printing in monochrome as often as possible makes printers more efficient.
4. Print two-sided.
Very few documents need to truly be printed on one side of the sheet only. Most laser printers have automatic duplex functionality. Double up on the paper sides and cut the size of a printed document in half.
5. Choose Energy Star-certified printers.
In addition to being physically massive, printers gobble resources like electricity which may or may not be generated by renewable energy. The Energy Star certification indicates devices which are most efficient in energy consumption in their class.
6. Use recycled toner cartridges.
Built from plastic and steel, toner cartridges are designed to withstand the rigors of printing. It also means that they can be recycled several times. Each recycled toner cartridge helps prevent another from going into the atmosphere.
7. Identify and track printing habits.
Printing costs and habits represent a major unknown for most businesses. However, using tracking software such as PaperCut, or a managed print service can help identify printing habits, then slash unnecessary expenses.
8. Use a central, networked printer.
Sure, having a desktop printer in every office and cubicle ensures maximum productivity – for the price of minimum oversight and control. Use a central, networked printer to keep an eye on everything that gets printed. Additionally, larger devices meant to be the centerpiece of a printing fleet far outstrip smaller printers in efficiency and resource conservation.
9. Explore paper alternatives.
Absolutely need to print something? Consider tree-free paper. This paper is made from common materials like bamboo, hemp or textile wastes instead of wood pulp. Consider this tactic especially for documents printed for clients. It sends a strong message about the company’s commitment to a sustainable business model.
10. Optimize documents.
A final, simple method to reduce the number of pages printed is to optimize each document to fit more on a page. Experiment with using smaller fonts, tighter margins, no images or even fewer words without sacrificing readability and clarity.
How the Printing Industry Is Trending Towards Green
The office printing industry has been trending towards green, promoting environmentally friendly printing practices for several years. As consumers are becoming more aware of the impact of their consumption practices, they’re increasingly demanding that companies adopt green strategies and practices. This is matriculating through every aspect of the business sphere, and an increased focus on things like sustainable printing practices is part of that effect.
Likewise, businesses are discovering that going green in the print environment is an effective yet minimally disruptive way to save money on office expenses. From using recycled materials to rethinking printing altogether, the concept of reducing, reusing, recycling is soon to be the status quo in workplace printing.
Choosing sustainable printing practices isn’t just good for the environment. It’s a smart business strategy indicates a sensitivity to consumer desires, and it makes fiscal sense.
Introduce Sustainable Printing Practices Today
Modern businesses print immense amounts of documents every day. As such, printing represents both a major expense and a major opportunity to make an impact on the immediate community and wider environment.
Many of the sustainable printing practices suggested in this article require no special equipment or any highly disruptive changes to an organization’s current workflow. They are easy to implement and subtle but will have an impact on the company’s annual printing expenses.
Take steps to introduce environmentally friendly printing practices in your office today. Edwards Business Systems has over 60 years of experience guiding businesses towards more strategic and efficient use of tools and resources. Contact us today to learn more.