Sustainable printing: Reduce your business’s environmental impact

Sustainable printing: Reduce your business’s environmental impact

Printing has an outsized impact on your business’s carbon footprint. If you use a lot of paper, you may find it difficult to meet environmental standards and demonstrate your commitment to a greener future to customers. Fortunately, there are several sustainable printing technologies and best practices you can implement to not only make your organization more environmentally friendly but also reduce your printing costs.

How do I practice sustainable printing?

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can leverage sustainable printing to reduce your business’s environmental impact and minimize resource consumption.

Use less paper

While paper waste is an obvious issue, the solution is both much more complex and much more effective than just remembering to print double-sided. Transitioning to paperless workflows using document digitization technology both slashes your paper consumption and improves the efficiency of your operations. You can enable paperless work environments through the integration of such solutions as legal e-signatures, cloud archiving, and auto conversion. These tools reduce your need for printing and physical document storage.

Choose eco-friendly devices and supplies

When you do have to print, choose eco-friendly printers and printing supplies. Look for printers that have:

With these features, you’re not using (and paying for) more paper, ink cartridges, and electricity than you need to.

When selecting paper and printing supplies, choose products that are made from recycled materials and/or are certified by reputable organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or EcoLogo.

Recycle printer cartridges and paper

Ensure that the office supply vendors you buy from offer cartridge recycling programs and that your waste management provider offers paper recycling programs. Also, don’t forget to promote your policies by providing recycling bins and signage to encourage employees to recycle paper and other recyclable materials properly.

Optimize printing settings

Another way to reduce consumption is by optimizing your devices’ printing and power settings. Here are some easy and simple printer adjustments that can reduce your costs, conserve energy, and minimize your contributions to landfills.

  • Conserve ink and toner: Adjust printer settings such as print quality, color intensity, and paper type
  • Conserve paper: Enable duplex printing by default to encourage double-sided printing.
  • Conserve energy: Set printers to enter sleep mode or power down when not in use.

Monitor and track printing usage

Monitoring and tracking printing usage is important for identifying areas of inefficiency and opportunities for improvement in your printing processes. If you haven’t already, set up a central print server with print management software to monitor printing activity, track usage patterns, and generate reports on printing volume and costs. With this data, you can identify trends, such as departments or individuals with high printing volumes, and implement informed policies to optimize usage. For example, if one department’s print volumes really get out of hand, you can implement specific departmental printing budgets and other solutions to incentivize paper conservation.

Educate and train employees

Educating and training employees on sustainable printing practices is essential for ensuring your policies actually work, because at the end of the day, someone still has to press “print.” Provide training and awareness programs on topics such as paperless workflows, print optimization, and recycling best practices. Encourage employees to take ownership of their printing habits and to actively participate in sustainability initiatives.

Get professional guidance on sustainable IT practices

Knowledge of green printing and sustainable IT practices isn’t common, especially in small businesses, so it’s helpful to seek the advice of consultants with specialized expertise. If you’re in the LA or Orange County area, contact Complete Document Solutions. We’re a full-service IT services provider with specialized expertise in digital and paper document solutions. We’ll leverage our 20+ years of experience in the industry to optimize your IT for sustainable operations so you can minimize your environmental impact as well as your office supply consumption and spending.

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