We have talked about how much a company can save in operating expenses using managed print services. On average, adopting in-house managed print services can immediately reduce operating costs by 30 percent. But cost-savings aren’t the only compelling reason to adopt in-house print services. The positive environmental impact offered by print services can be a great motivator for both employees and senior management.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average office worker uses about 27 pounds of paper per year, much of it wasted. More than 40 percent of the trees harvested by loggers are used for paper production, and nine percent of those trees are from old growth forests. And of the paper produced, less than 5 percent contains recycled materials and about 50 percent will end up in an incinerator or landfill. Organizations waste paper, which costs both in money and natural resources.
So how can managed print services promote environmental responsibility? Here are just a few ways that should matter to any responsible business:
1. Understand Your Environmental Impact
The best place to start is by determining how much impact an organization truly has on the environment. Many organizations that think they have green business practices are the worst environmental offenders because they never bothered to measure their carbon footprint.
Your carbon footprint is the measure of the environmental impact of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases that you contribute to the environment. There are two parts to the carbon footprint: the primary footprint as measured in terms of burning fossil fuels; and the secondary footprint which is the sum of indirect emissions generated to create goods and services you use, including printers and toner cartridges.
Any organization’s environmental impact includes estimating their energy consumption, paper use, and their carbon footprint. When calculating your environmental impact you have to look beyond your direct contribution to the negative impact of materials your company wastes. For example, did you know it takes three gallons of water to make a single sheet of paper? Every piece of wasted paper creates three gallons of waste water.
There are a number of online calculators available to determine how much your company wastes. Understanding the specific impact of office supplies and services dramatizes the need for greener procedures such as print services and will promote employee conservation.
2. Reduce Your Energy Consumption
Another area of waste that most companies don’t consider is energy. Maintaining multiple printers for each department wastes a lot of energy.
Research shows that there are on average two to four employees per printer. With managed print services you can eliminate those extra printers and substantially reduce energy consumption.
Replacing energy-hungry printers with Energy Star® qualified devices can cut energy consumption by as much as 50 percent. And shopping for print features such as “instant-on” copying that eliminates warm up time, and “auto on/off” technology also will reduce energy waste.
With print services you can reduce both the number of printers and install more energy-efficient printers to realize even more environmental savings.
3. Reduce Wasted Paper
And, of course, there is reduction of wasted paper. Analysis shows that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year. Nearly 3.7 million tons of copy paper or 700 billion sheets are used in the United States alone each year. At the same time almost 40 percent of garbage consists of cardboard and paper.
There is any number of ways to reduce paper consumption:
- Use two-sided documents.
- Circulate more digital memos and reports.
- Share paper copies.
- Proof materials electronically rather than in printouts.
- Eliminate unnecessary forms.
The list goes on. The best way to reduce wasted paper is not to generate paper in the first place. Using managed print services reduces wasted paper by forcing employees to think before they print.
Using recycled paper is one way to demonstrate environmental responsibility. Recycled paper can be slightly more expensive but it is more environmentally friendly.
Where you really need to think about recycling is with the other materials associated with printing – ink cartridges, toner cartridges, even the printers themselves. Use trade-in and recovery services to recycle and reduce waste.
And with in-house print services the amount of recycling required is substantially reduced. Print services use less paper so even if the cost of paper is slightly higher the company still saves money. There also is less paper to recycle, and recycling is more efficient when it’s centralized. And, of course, there is less consumption of toner and ink which reduces the amount of waste for recycling, and managed print services include scheduled hardware maintenance so printers and scanners last longer.
5. Go Paperless
And then there is always the promise of paperless processes. Paper documents are not cost effective. Fifteen percent of all paper documents are lost and 20 percent are misfiled. Lost documents cost companies six times more than the value of the original document, and reconstructing lost paperwork costs 11 times more than the original document.
Promoting paperless processes eliminates waste and lost paperwork. Using electronic memos, reports, and other types of documents instead of paper eliminates loss since digital archives are more secure and searchable.
Managed print services integrate well into a paperless office to reduce lost and wasted paper. Paper document such as work orders, invoices, and contracts can be scanned and stored electronically for secure archiving and easy access – no lost paperwork and no time and resources required to reproduce lost materials.
These are just five ways managed print services promote environmental responsibility. I am sure you can think of others. How important is it to your customers to green their operations?