Top tips for reducing your environmental footprint through your print estate

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Print industry expert offers advice for more sustainable workplace printing

Sustainability has become a key issue for organisations of all sizes and leaders are increasingly looking at how they can reduce their carbon footprint, from cutting down on heating and cooling systems, to removing single use plastic from the office or reducing water usage. One great place to start looking for ways to reduce your environmental impact is within your print estate says Y Soft Corporation, a leading enterprise office solution provider.

“Taking steps to reduce the impact your organisation has on the environment is often perceived as time consuming and expensive. But going green doesn’t have to impact your profit margins or make you lower your standards. With the majority (64 per cent) of business users expecting printing to still be important by 2025, becoming a paperless office is simply not an option for many, so for those that still rely heavily on printing, there are a number of other considerations they can make to reduce their carbon footprint,” says James Turner, Regional Sales Manager at Y Soft, who provides the following ways for organisations to reduce their environmental impact:

  1. Check out your energy consumption

According to EnergyUseCalculator.com, commercial printers can use up to 50 watts on standby and 500 watts when printing, leading to high CO2 emissions. Understand what your print energy consumption is and if this needs improving, you should look at optimising your overall print infrastructure. By optimising your print infrastructure you can reduce the number of printers and the number of servers required which not only reduces emissions but also costs.

In addition, you should also look to turn machines off when they are not in use and activate standby modes too.

  1. Smart printing

According to some research, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year, which is more than two trees worth of paper, and much of this is swiftly discarded or lost. Organisations can therefore become smarter with their printing in terms of enforcing grayscale and duplex printing where possible to reduce the footprint. In addition, using an authentication option where a print job will only print when the user is at the machine ready to collect it will eliminate the notion of abandoned prints. This is referred to as pull printing and minimises wasted resources.

  1. Assess your multifunctional devices

Multifunction devices (MFDs) are often overlooked as a staple of office equipment, but there are a number of areas which need to be addressed to minimise their impact on the environment. Initiating managed print services with a print management solution ensures the centralisation of your print services. Through this implementation you’ll discover that some printers are under-utilised or that personal printers are wasteful and, when used with pullprinting, are unnecessary.

This kind of service will also enable you to track and act on how your MFDs use consumables such as ink and toner to aid waste reduction.

  1. Recycling

Producing 100,000 sheets of paper from new sources requires over eight trees and almost 2,000kWh of energy. As we’ve established, it’s still important for organisations to print so you should look at using recycled materials, such as recycled printer paper and also print consumable recycling wherever possible.

According to recent figures, it can take up to 1,000 years for a printer cartridge to decompose. With it estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish, it has never been more important to reduce and recycle plastic. Organisations should therefore always recycle old printer cartridges.

Turner concludes, “While the impact that organisations have on the environment can feel a little overwhelming, there is plenty that can be done to ensure that your organisation’s print environment and methods can minimise that impact. Printing can be costly to both the environment and your bottom line, but by following the above suggestions you can support both sustainability and revenue objectives.”