Green Printing Practices: How to Make Your Office Environmentally Friendly

Wednesday, April 22 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, an annual holiday meant to increase environmental awareness and to inspire public commitment to greener living.

earth day

What better opportunity to make a difference this year by reviewing your office’s printing practices in search of ways to make them more eco-friendly. Here is a short guide on how to get started and some simple tips that can have a huge impact.

Assess Your Print Environment

First you must evaluate your copy and printing environment with a sense of honesty. Resist the urge to ignore irresponsible business practices because it’s “what you’ve always done.” And don’t forget to be thorough! Look closely at all aspects of your print environment to identify areas in which you can improve, including:

  • Machines – Are your printers, copiers and other print devices energy-efficient? Do they automatically switch to standby modes during non-peak usage times? Does your equipment use advanced technology such as LED-based scanning that uses ⅓ the power of traditional Xenon lamps?
  • Resources – Does your organization use environmentally friendly consumables like recycled paper or low-melt toner?
  • Employee Behavior – Does your business have print guidelines in place that foster responsible printing? How much paper do your employees waste?

This evaluation should help guide you in developing a plan for how to improve your office’s sustainability. If you need further direction, you can use tools such as a carbon footprint calculator to help identify areas in which you can improve your office’s printing practices.

Making Environmentally Friendly Changes

printer friendly changes

Now that you’ve identified areas that need improvement, it’s time to address them. Often times simple changes can have a huge impact. Check out a few things you can do to help make your office’s print environment more eco-friendly:

  • Replace Outdated Equipment – Replace old print devices with newer models that meet environmental certifications such as Energy Star. This will lower your bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Consolidate Equipment – Consolidate stand-alone devices such as printers, copiers, and fax machines into a single, multifunction unit to save on space, energy costs and resources.
  • Leverage Printer Settings – Take advantage of your print device’s environmentally conscious print settings. For example, print on both sides of the page (duplex), adjust the margins, and eliminate the banner sheet to cut down on the amount of paper your business uses.
  • Use Recycled Paper – Recycled paper that contains at least 30% postconsumer fiber content allows your organization to make better use of materials and to save on resources. Recycled paper also uses fewer trees and chemicals during production than new paper.
  • Recycle Used Paper – Your office may already be printing on recycled paper, but how are your employees discarding it? Start a recycling program within your office.
  • Go Digital – Reduce your paper usage by switching from paper communications such as memos to electronic communications such as email.
  • Implement a Managed Print Solution – Many businesses outsource the management of its print devices to a third party. These parties provide valuable insight into an organization’s print environment and help them create actionable solutions that help monitor and control costs.

Interested in making your printing and copying practices greener for Earth Day? Contact us today at Xcel Office Solutions. We’re Oklahoma’s premiere provider of Xerox office technology, and we also offer a number of IT solutions including managed print services, scanning solutions, and managed IT services. Call 405-748-4222 or contact us to learn more about how we can help your business Xcel.

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