Green printing is no longer a buzzword, or a hot trend, but rather an industry must-have. Businesses also have a responsibility to ensure that their actions are as environmentally sustainable as possible and companies need to think about their strategies for recycling, reusing and reducing use, or face public opinion backlash and even fines or other penalties. Going green also makes good business sense by trimming costs and reducing waste.
There are a number of things to think about when considering how to implement a responsible, environmentally-sound printing policy: the use of low volatile organic chemicals (low-VOC) inks, the use of recycled paper, using the most efficient toner cartridges, reducing paper waste and making sure that energy-efficient computers, printers and displays are purchased. The small gains from each of these can combine to make a big difference and shows how your company is working to make the world a better place
A few years ago the world’s leading companies, largely tech companies on the Fortune 500 list, were the drivers for global change and energy efficiency in the printing industry as well. While there are misconceptions about green printing that has left many small- to medium-size companies hesitant, the larger companies have picked up the baton and are proving how it benefits their businesses. One of the beliefs is that the use of remanufactured paper creates lower quality prints. In the past this was a known issue but this no longer holds true thanks to improved recycling methods. Using an accredited “green” recycled paper brand, which is made from 100% recycled paper and/or managed forests, can provide prints of a good quality, is cheaper to buy and protects natural resources.
Putting a printing policy in place is another small change that makes a big difference. Discuss the issues with employees – when is it appropriate to print and when not? Can certain documents be printed grayscale to save ink and back to back to save paper? When should colour printing be used? Can documents be scanned and viewed electronically during meetings instead of copied? These issues should be considered and agreed on. Consider training current staff and doing on-board sessions with news staff to ensure that they understand the need for green printing practices. Also consider implementing a managed print application like PaperCut which can automate some of these policies for your business.
Another clever (and often ignored) solution is to keep your fleet of multifunction copiers well-maintained to prevent mechanical faults that “loose” – and thus waste – toner, or print incorrectly, requiring unnecessary reprints. If purchasing new devices, check that they are Energy Star rated to ensure that your office is as efficient as possible with regards electricity use.