How the Latest Print Technology Enables a More Sustainable Office
It is estimated that an average employee consumes about ten thousand pages of paper a year in printing. Implementing the latest print technology can have a positive impact on your office’s carbon footprint. By reducing paper usage and using more environmentally sustainable resources, you can help to combat deforestation and global warming.
Managed Print Service A managed print service (MPS) outsources a firm’s print function to an experienced third party. A provider, like Xerox, will design an optimal print system designed to rationalise all aspects of a client’s print network. By formulating a process strategy for fleet and workflow, firms can monitor output more effectively, reducing waste and eradicating poor practices.
Printing output can be analysed at department, team or individual level, allowing departments to allocate costs and improve efficiency. By reducing unnecessary output and wastage, firms can reduce their paper requirements and save energy, leading to carbon improvements.
Xerox estimates that their MPS partnership with British Telecom helped reduce their client’s carbon footprint by 50%. The overall environmental benefit of MPS was estimated to be equivalent to taking 304,000 cars off the road in 2012; enough energy to power 230,000 homes for a year.
Electronic Document Management
Electronic Document Management (EDF) is software that stores documents in a digital format. This reduces the requirement for handling tangible, paper copies; this in effect digitizes filing cabinets and folders of text documentation.
Some of these systems will store images of documents; others include optical character recognition which can translate scanned documents into editable text. EDF can then act as a database, allowing for searching and sorting of documents by key words.
From an environmental perspective, EDF takes pressure off your print function, reducing paper requirements hugely. It also provides firms with spatial advantages, reducing the requirement for filing cabinets and cupboards, minimising floor space and saving energy.
Sustainable paper is sourced from forests which are sustainably managed and not involved in poor environmental practices like mass deforestation. These forests are managed in such a way to maintain long term social, economic and environmental benefits.
Firms within the EU are now required by law to keep a record of exactly how they buy and sell paper, with The European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) coming into action from March 3rd.
Recycled paper provides additional environmental benefits, allowing firms to reduce their paper usage further.
Green printing software
Green printing software from firms like GreenPrint can help to maximize page efficiency, eliminating unused pages, unnecessary images or advertising content from print jobs before they are sent to the printer. This reduces the number of pages needed to complete a print job, increasing efficiency and lowering paper requirements.
Analytics software also allows you to measures print volumes, identify cost savings opportunities and create improved print management over time. You can also analyse inventories, find out which printers are most/least used and shift print volumes to lowest cost alternatives.
Other software, like Preton’s Pixel Optimizer technology, reduces the ink used in printing by leaving out pixels but still maintaining print quality; this saves ink and toner usage.
Combining print and digital technology
In order to maximise environmental benefits, firms must also effectively combine digital technology with traditional print systems. This includes leveraging display screens, overhead projectors and smartphones to reduce overall paper requirements. Hand-outs at meetings should be replaced by tablets and smartphones for viewing and editing relevant documentation quickly and efficiently.
Cloud technology should also be used to reduce the requirement of printed information, with businesses documentation now available remotely, rather than limited to internal servers.
Steve Pond is Divisional Manager of First Choice Ltd. With over 15 years’ client service experience, Steve understands how businesses can leverage print technology to improve their environmental impacts.
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