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The key to sustainable printing: 10 steps to help you improve your carbon footprint


Over the past decade, businesses have been actively pursuing ways of balancing operational needs with sustainable practices. Though many businesses are using digital transformation as a driver to go paperless, it is a fact that printed documents are still very much a part of business life.

The print industry has therefore had to adapt its techniques to facilitate sustainability and environmental practices.   

 

By incorporating sustainability into your company’s values or mission statement, all of your staff will be more willing to get behind new procedures which will bring environmental and economic benefits.  

 

Implementing sustainable programmes takes teamwork and experience. Here we’ll outline 10 steps you can implement to improve your carbon footprint with the bonus of reducing costs.  

 

10 steps you can implement to make your print facility more sustainable  

 

1) E-documents  

Think e-documents over paper processes. Using electronic document management systems to automate workflows can reduce the number of hard copies you print. Most MFDs also have a scanning function which can distribute and store scanned documents for you. If there is no way around a printed document perhaps consider using recycled paper.  

 

2) Rationalise the print fleet 

Many businesses have a variety of devices from desktop printers to MFDs and separate scanning facilities, not to mention a multitude of different makes and models. A print audit and an on-site survey of all devices will identify output volumes, the location of the most over-utilised or costliest devices, visibility of staff behaviours and which devices are failing or broken. On the back of the assessment recommendations for consolidating the print fleet and reducing costs are made.  

 

3) Asset management  

It is important to keep track of and identify inefficient or broken equipment that needs replacing. Keep outdated hardware only wastes power, space and money. Excessive use of consumables is another example of under-managed resources. Utilising usage reporting tools to track paper and toner consumption can help you control your assets better.  

 

4) Environmental disposal  

When disposing of printers and fax machines there are plenty of disposal companies that will help you get rid of your hardware in a secure and environmentally friendly manner. You can even recycle used toners and cartridges. At Digicorp we offer a recycling policy in line with the WEEE guidelines set out by the EU.    

 

5) Encourage good behaviour  

Commissioning sustainable business practices creates a good brand impression and sets a positive example for your workforce. By understanding your eco footprint and educating employees they are more likely to take responsibility for their actions. Familiarising your employees with procedures to improve processes will also eliminate waste.   

 

6) Print from the correct device  

Sending print jobs to the wrong type of printer can have an impact on the cost and quality of the document. By setting up rule-based printing print jobs are automatically routed to the most suitable device thereby optimising energy consumption and ensuring resources are saved. It may mean employees have to walk a little further to reach the correct printer, but perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.   

 

7) Minimise Power Consumption  

Most manufacturers will provide an Energy Star rating on their devices. Look for devices that exceed the rating and industry standards when you next buy or lease a printer as this will go a long way to conserving power.   

 

Many modern printers and MFDS also have energy saving modes and ‘Quick Startup’ technology, meaning they power down or go into “sleep mode” when they are not being used. This can help reduce the amount of energy and reduce costs.  

 

8) Reduce paper usage 

Saving in paper consumption can be made by implementing usage policies such as default to duplex printing. Authentication software such as Follow-Me (secure) Print has also made it possible to control when a print job is released from the device, therefore reducing paper waste. Any unprinted documents autodelete within a specified time. The software is proven to reduce paper consumption by up to 30%.   

 

9) Print on demand  

Use digital printers or virtual stationary software to print materials such as letterheads and comp slips directly, with no need for costly pre-printed stationary which could quickly become redundant as the company makes changes.    

 

10) Measure & Manage  

Environmental initiatives cannot be implemented without accurate measurement and reporting. Tools that provide enterprise-wide visibility on sustainability performance are critical. When it comes to print, the programme must be designed for all document processes and address reduction in energy consumption, hard copy and CO2 footprint. 

 

Talk to us  

Digicorp is an independent provider of business technology and solutions.  With expertise in managed print, document management, collaboration technology, communication systems and IT services, we work closely with our clients to understand the challenges they face and their vision for the future. As an independent company with industry-leading partnerships, we can develop bespoke solutions for clients that add value and inspires positive change.  

 

Contact us at [email protected] or call 020 7232 5410.