Why the Environment Should Be Factored in a Managed Print Program
You may have a print management program going, or have considered it. One of the commonly missing pieces could be something as simple as a robust recycling program to help ensure the environmental initiatives for your company are being met. This focus is not just recycling, but making sure the printers are utilized correctly and there isn’t paper waste.
We have helped large and small companies with their printer fleets, including implementation of a robust environmental policy. If you want to make sure the company who helps you with your print can also help with the environment, we will go over some of the key ways we accomplish this important goal.
We will talk about recycling toners, utilization rates, power requirements, and printing technology. There is a lot to consider when thinking about the environment. Here are some of the things you need to be paying attention to for your next managed print engagement.
Factor #1 – Recycling
There are a lot of companies that still take toner out of a printer and just throw the toner in the trash. It is easier to do, for sure. But there are heavy metals and other compounds which make this idea less than ideal for the environment. Plus, the plastics and shells can even be used by remanufacturing companies to make new toners to reduce the amount of plastic needed in the print space.
We have seen estimates that over 300 million inkjet cartridges and 70 million laser cartridges are purchased each year. Take that over a decade and you have over 3 billion inkjet cartridges and 700 million laser cartridges. There are metals in the drums of these toners and plastics account for millions of tons of waste.
Why not have a simple recycling box program where the toners are used and, when disposed of, placed in a box? You print more, and put more recycling in the box. Eventually, you can ship it off with a free prepaid label to be recycled and to help reduce the environmental footprint for your company.
Recycling goes even further than just the toners. You also have the drums and even the printers at the end of life. All the assets should be recycled and done so by a certified electronics recycler.
You may want to take a look at this link for an eye-opening look at how electronics recycling can work if not with a certified electronics recycler.
Factor #2 – Utilization Rates
This is basically an equation to ensure the devices you have are used at the right frequency and level to make sure you are not wasting a lot of resources. There are a few ways we help with the utilization of printers.
The first method is by right sizing your printer. This means when the print volumes are low, we have a small device. If they are high, we have a bigger device. The issue here is if you have a low print volume, the waste happens more in having a massive printer when a small one could be used. (Like having a MAC truck as a commuter.) If you have a little printer and run a lot of volume, now the issue is you are getting too many toners and that waste will add up quickly and be a bigger problem than the printer size rather quickly. Some toners have a yield of 2000 pages or less. Others can be 30,000 to 40,000 pages. This could be nearly a 20 to 1 difference on cartridges.
Another important part of utilization is having print rules to help people not print, or print in black and white rather than color or send jobs to the most efficient printer in your fleet for the job. These policies will help the environment by reducing wasted prints and not printing in color when it isn’t needed. This is an area where you will save your pocketbook and the environment.
Factor 3 – Power Requirements
This is another area which is rarely considered. One of the dirty secrets is the amount of power old printers use vs new printers and how a long warm up time can make the amount of power used substantially higher. If one of your environmental objectives is to save power, there are several ways to help.
We can make sure the most efficient printers are in your office, or at the very least go into the settings and make sure the sleep settings are enabled. Often on the older printers, because they take so long to warm up, this is set for a really long time before entering sleep mode. This is because people don’t like waiting around for their prints.
Factor 4 – Printing Technology
The final factor we would look at is what printing technology you are using. Some cases call for more (or fewer) inkjet printers. Sometimes it involved having fewer devices, but ones that are bigger. There are a lot of ways we have to look at technology. We may look at LED vs Laser printing and how that affects power. We really need to understand your goals with the printers (is it for marketing materials or accounting spreadsheets? What happens after it is printed on the paper?) This can be very case by case.
We can help your company create and sustain a viable environmental policy around your printing devices across your business. If you have concerns, like we do, about the amount of metals and plastics entering our water tables and dumps, we would love to help you with a plan to be a responsible steward of the environment. We offer managed printing solutions across the United States and can help your environmental initiatives work for your enterprise business.