Can Businesses Print & Copy and Still Be Green?
The journey to becoming a paper-free business can involve many stages – it’s unlikely that any organisation could achieve the process in a single step. But while you’re transitioning, how do you make sure you’re also doing your best for the environment?
Energy Efficient Hardware
When you have to print and/or photocopy material, the first consideration is the hardware you are using. You may, in the short term at least, be stuck with what you’ve got, but if and when you are in a position to replace machinery, do your research and ensure that what you buy is environmentally friendly. Opt for machines with a built-in standby mode and a range of print/copy settings.
When you are making your choice, as well as looking at running costs, remember to factor in the cost of consumables – it might be that the most expensive machine in the range is actually the cheapest to run overall once these are taken into account.
When it comes to consumables, where possible use recycled, or remanufactured, paper and ink cartridges. Remember, these don’t have to mean you settle for second best. The key to successful green printing is sourcing top quality, environmentally friendly hardware and consumables.
Seven Top Tips for Greener Printing & Copying
1. Choose your hardware carefully: opt for energy-efficient machinery with settings that allow for production of double-sided documents and draft-quality pages.
2. Choose your consumables carefully: consider using recycled paper, and stock at least two grades – cheaper for drafts and internal use only, and better quality for documents that will be shared more widely or sent to customers.
3. Print draft quality: you can generally choose the quality of print you want, so if you’re printing information for your own or internal use only, print draft-quality and use less ink.
4. Fit more on the page: adjust the margins, reduce the font size, leave less white space – provided the information is still readable and understandable, fit as much as you can on each page.
5. Print documents double-sided: whenever possible, use both sides of the paper when printing.
6. Reuse scrap paper: even if you print double-sided, there will be times when only one side of the paper is used. When it’s time to recycle documents, keep those sheets for making notes, or for printing other single-sided documents. Nothing should hit the recycle bin until both sides have been used.
7. Fully train all staff: make sure that everyone is trained in the use of machinery and knows how to change paper and settings, and also how to cancel print jobs if they sent them in error.
We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, and with a little planning and care you can do that – and still print and copy when you must.