Every year, up to 80 million used ink cartridges end up in landfill globally, taking 400 to 1000 years to biodegrade. Similarly, paper makes up about 35% of our waste stream every year. These figures make it clear that office printing practices can have an incredibly negative impact on the environment.

Sustainable printing is gaining momentum across the country, as more and more people become aware of environmentally friendly printing practices. There are several elements that contribute to green printing, that are also friendly on the office budget. Read on to find the 10 simple rules to making office printing more sustainable.

1.Ensure your Equipment is Up to Date

Purchasing modern products and hp envy 5530 ink, which meet eco-labelling qualifications, are essential in order to commit to sustainable printing practices. Eco-friendly printers utilise double-sided printing and other sustainable settings, in order to reduce the amount of power used by the printer, and subsequently cut the cost-per-page.

2. Choose Multi-function Devices

A large component of reducing your carbon footprint is lowering your energy consumption. One easy way to lower your office equipment electricity usage, is to invest in multi-function printer (MFP) that offers printer, copy machine, scanner, and even fax machine functions. All electrically powered machines draw energy when plugged in, even when not in use. When you have just one machine plugged in instead of several, you can reduce your office equipment energy usage quickly and easily.

3.Secure Pull Printing

Documents which are printed and never collected, are currently the largest source of print waste. It is therefore important for offices to introduce secure printing via a smart card or pin, to release documents from the printer.

Many modern office printers are now also installed with verification software, requiring a business ID to active the printers. This simple change significantly minimises the amount of wasted prints, and allows you to track the printing habits of individual members of the organisation.

4.Encourage Recycling Practices

When switching your office practices to green alternatives, it is essential to partner with other sustainable office equipment providers. Some cartridge and printing equipment providers, including Cartridges Direct, have partnered with ethical recycling programs in order to reuse and recycle ink and toner cartridges.

Creating a ‘Green Team’ in your office is another important step in encouraging sustainable printing practices. The Green Team can be responsible for setting recycling guidelines for paper, print and cartridges, and encouraging employees to switch to digital where possible.

5.Challenge your Printing Habits

Making your office printing sustainable is all about challenging printing habits that are harmful to the environment. While it is still important for offices to be able to print documents, before reaching for the print button, consider these alternatives.

  • Saving the document: If you would like to keep a record of the document, but don’t necessarily require it in physical form, simply save the document on the computer to refer to later.
  • Print in black and white: Before you print a colour document, it is important to consider why you need the document in the first place. If the document is only for internal use, stick to black and white.
  • Use Scrap Paper and write it down. For smaller note taking, grab a sheet or two from the recycle bins near the printers. Use those to write your notes.
  • Reusing paper: If the printed document is for your reference only, pop your non-confidential documents back into the printer and use the other side of the page next time.

6.Use Recycled Paper

Did you know that paper can be recycled and reused 4-5 times? With advances in technology and processes, recycled paper is now as white and has the same print performance as non recycled paper. There is, therefore, no excuse not to switch to recycled paper throughout the office.

7.Support Managed Forests

If your business requires ongoing print services, make sure you’re using one that supports managed forests. Managed forests are cultivated specifically for paper milling, keeping our carbon footprint small and protecting our wildlife.

8.Improve the Management of Printing Services

Have you ever over-ordered a printing supply because you weren’t sure how much inventory you had? Unfortunately over-ordering is a common problem for businesses worldwide. Poor print management can become an economic drain on your business, and increases paper waste. By improving your print management and keeping track of when it’s time to reorder your printing equipment, you can save your business time and money, and promote sustainability.

9.Keep a Watch on Printer Settings

Choosing the correct font and proper print mode can significantly reduce ink and toner use, Good font choices include Calibri and Cambria, two typefaces with thinner characters that require less ink or toner to produce. It is also beneficial to set your printer’s default as  “draft” mode for inter-office use, reserving higher-quality printing options for documents distributed outside the company.

10.Switch Off

Ensure all printers and photocopiers are switched off or in standby mode when not in use, and are completely shut down at the end of the work day.

There are so many ways to make your business better for the environment. Follow these 10 printing commandments, to ensure that your printing decisions are eco-conscious and cost effective for your business as well.

Laura Costello is a recent graduate of a  Bachelor of Law/International Relations at Latrobe University. She is passionate about the law, the power of social media, and the ability to translate her knowledge of both common and complex legal topics to readers across a variety of mediums, in a way that is easy to understand.