Sustainable Printing Practices: 8 Tips for Eco-Friendly Printing

Sustainable Printing Practices: 8 Tips for Eco-Friendly Printing

by Pat Pharr - September 26, 2023

Sustainable printing blends advanced printing technology with eco-friendly practices that can uplift a company’s green credentials and contribute to cost-saving and overall printing efficiency. Let’s explore eco-friendly printing, learn more about the benefits of going green, and discover some simple tips to implement sustainable printing into your business.

What Is Eco-Friendly Printing?

Eco-friendly printing refers to the implementation of practices that minimize the environmental costs and impact of office printing. This often involves several key activities, including:

  • Using sustainable materials
  • Using efficient printing technology
  • Reducing waste wherever possible

The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. With your average tree producing between 10,000 and 50,000 sheets of paper available, that’s around a tree's worth of paper per worker per year. While these numbers can seem daunting on their own, they don’t include the carbon impacts as well as impacts from ink and toner production and disposal.

Green printing initiatives help reduce these significant environmental costs. As businesses look to adopt more sustainable practices across their organization, understanding and implementing eco-friendly printing becomes essential.

Benefits of Sustainable Printing Practices

When many explore eco-friendly printing practices, they often focus on the positive benefits related to brand and company image. While green printing practices do help highlight a company’s efforts toward shoring up sustainability in their everyday operations, the benefits of environmentally sound printing go beyond company image alone. Here are some key benefits of implementing sustainable printing in your office:

  • Reduced Environmental Impact - By using recycled or sustainably sourced paper, your business can directly contribute to the preservation of forests and reduce habitat loss.
  • Lower Your Carbon Footprint - With energy-efficient printers, your team can reduce carbon emissions and contribute to curbing climate change in an impactful way.
  • Cost Savings - When you reduce your printing needs and leverage energy-efficient printing technology, you can significantly cut energy costs.
  • Enhanced Brand Image - In today’s market, sustainability efforts are the norm. Adopting green practices helps the planet and your brand’s reputation.
  • Regulatory Compliance - As environmental regulations tighten, maintaining eco-friendly office practices may help your business stay compliant. 

8 Tips for Implementing Green Printing in Your Office

Printing is an essential part of doing business. But that doesn't mean your organization can’t take meaningful steps toward implementing more sustainable practices. Adopting green printing isn’t just an ecological endeavor; it’s an invitation to modernize, economize, and promote a more environmentally conscious workplace. Here are eight actionable tips to help your office transition toward more environmentally friendly printing operations.

1. Use Sustainable Printing Paper

Paper and printing are inseparable. But that doesn’t mean it has to come at the expense of our forest and green spaces. When you can, always choose recycled or sustainably sourced paper products. Try and find organizations, like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), that certify the source of paper and carry a significantly reduced carbon impact.

2. Use Eco-Friendly Ink

Paper is only one part of the sustainability equation. There’s also ink. Using vegetable or soy-based inks instead of petroleum-based products can mean less environmental harm both in ink production and disposal. These alternative inks are more biodegradable and can limit the environmental harm of your business’s printing practices.

3. Limit Waste

Implementing sustainable practices is as much about the equipment and material you use as the mindset you curate in your business. The key to sustainable printing is mindfulness and waste reduction. Encourage digital proofs over physical ones and adopt an efficient print environment layout to optimize paper usage. Moreover, use regular training sessions to educate employees on proper printing practices.

4. Recycle Empty Toner and Ink Cartridges

Every cartridge you throw in the trash is a missed opportunity. If you can’t reduce or reuse these products, the next best option is to recycle. Many manufacturers understand this and will offer take-back programs. There are also third-party organizations that specialize in cartridge recycling, turning potential waste into usable resources.

5. Track Printing

Use print management software, to gain insights into your printer, paper, and toner usage. Once you understand the patterns in usage, you can identify areas of improvement to limit excessive printing, paper jams, and the overuse of resources.

6. Use Double-Sided Printing

A simple change with profound effects, using double-sided printing can help reduce your paper usage by 50%. While this might not be the best option for every print job, you should enable duplex (double-sided) printing as a default setting. This will reduce paper consumption in an easy yet highly impactful way.

7. Invest in an Eco-Friendly Print Service

Outsourcing isn’t an excuse to compromise on sustainability. When reviewing managed print service providers, always consider a vendor’s approach to sustainability. By partnering with organizations that take environmental initiatives seriously, you can exponentially increase your overall impact.

8. Switch to New Copiers and Printers

Modern printing equipment often integrates efficiency and sustainability as a priority. Upgrading to new copiers and printers, like multifunction printers (MFPs), can offer several eco-friendly advantages, such as eco-printing modes, smart features, and reduced energy consumption. By implementing managed print services and modern printing technology, businesses can embrace more sustainable practices effectively.

Start Your Eco-Friendly Printing Journey Today

The move toward sustainable printing isn't just an environmental endeavor; it’s a strategic effort that brings tangible benefits to businesses in terms of cost savings, compliance, and a company’s reputation. By implementing the practices outlined above, your business can not only limit its environmental impact but also foster a culture of responsibility.

But, partnering with the right managed print service provider can make all the difference. Working with companies that put sustainability at the forefront of their operations can help strengthen your impact and reduce your carbon footprint significantly.

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