5 Steps to Sustainable Printing

Submitted by Liz Adair on Wed, 04/26/2023 - 10:26
5 Steps to Sustainable Printing

Sustainability is the name of the game in 2023.

A recent study found that consumers will pay up to 20% extra for greener products, and companies who are environmentally conscious tend to perform better financially. 

As the importance of sustainability grows for consumers, companies need to embrace the change by incorporating sustainable development practices into their business models.

This means taking real steps towards environmentally friendly practices, like green printing, paperless office policies, and recycling office supplies. 

With over 30 years of experience, our team members at STPT are experts in all things print. From finding print services to sourcing eco print materials and buying eco-friendly laser printers, we want to use our expertise to help your company achieve its sustainability goals.

Saving the environment doesn’t have to be hard! Our printing experts at STPT have put together this list of steps to help your business get started on its journey to sustainable development with greener printers and managed print services.

5 Steps to Sustainable Printing

1.    Going Paperless: Using Multifunction Printers to Scan Documents

There are many reasons to go paperless. Doing so can save your company money, attract more customers, and it can help save the planet. 

If you are part of a green team and want to start thinking about sustainability practices, then the first step is to figure out how paperless your company can go. 

Sustainable development goals for the green office include digital document storage and sharing and cutting down on paper waste. First, you’ll want to consider how best to store and manage digital documents. Instead of keeping paper copies of documents, your green office will want to consider officially switching to an online repository for document storage and management, like Xerox DocuShare, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google Docs

However, going paperless doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of your multifunction printer. Your multi-functional printing device can be used to scan documents, which is usually necessary for going digital. Your printer is the on ramp to your digital expressway. 

You can use a scanner or multifunction printer to scan old paper documents into your new online repository, and multifunction printers are great for staying green in the long run: all paper documents your office receives can be scanned, digitally stored, and recycled. 

Check out our Comprehensive Guide to Going Paperless for more information.

2.    Choosing Eco-Friendly Printers and Print Supplies 

If your office can’t go completely paperless right now, that’s okay. You can also protect the Earth by choosing eco-friendly printer supplies. 

Printer paper, ink, and toner can all be sustainably sourced for your office. You can use 100% recycled printer paper for necessary print jobs to cutdown on new paper waste and decrease deforestation. 

100% Free Paper

Another printer paper option for an environmentally friendly office is tree free paper. Some printer paper is made using waste products, like this one, which is carbon neutral, acid free, and made from sugarcane waste fiber. 

Tree free paper
There are many options to consider when choosing the best eco-friendly printer paper for your business, but recycled materials or tree-free materials are good options if you want to engage in green printing practices. 

Other print supplies can also be checked for sustainability before purchase. Whether your green office uses a laser printer or an inkjet model, it is important to consider the environmental impact of the materials used. 

The best eco-friendly printers are usually ranked or qualified according to specific entities and programs, like Energy Star and Blue Angel. 

When choosing your printer, you will want to check the machine’s environmental qualifications, and the environmental rating registry for electronic products (EPEAT) is a good resource that rates and identifies equipment that meets environmentally friendly criteria. 

EPEAT rates machines like copier printers and scanners for specific design, energy usage, production, and recycling qualifications. Rankings can be found on the EPEAT website, and you can search according to a variety of criteria, including rank (bronze, silver, or gold), type of machine, and brand.

3.    Recycling Your Print Materials 

A toner cartridge, which is made of plastics and electronics, can take up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill site, but reusing a cartridge can decrease the amount of greenhouse gasses produced. 
That is why recycling your print materials is a must for a green office. Materials like toner cartridges, printer paper, and broken electronic parts need to be recycled and reused to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

The Xerox Green World alliance is a good resource for easy toner recycling options, like the eco box return system.

Another option is reaching out to your print vendor. For example, as your Xerox or HP print vendor, STPT could give you more information about toner recycling options local to you. 

Donating or recycling electronic parts helps keep the environment clean and safe, and it also allows us to reuse valuable products like plastics, glass, and metals. Pro Tip: delete all sensitive data from electronics before donating or recycling them.

Printer paper can go in basic recycling bins. Just make sure to shred all paper documents that contain sensitive information before recycling them. 

4.    Using Eco Friendly Settings On Your Printer

Another step to becoming more sustainable is using eco-friendly print settings on your machines. There are many settings to consider when setting up your copier printer, including:

•    duplex printing (automatically printing on both sides of the printer paper)

•    font size, margins, and space-saving layout options for prints

•    avoiding too many page or section breaks

•    choosing to print only the pages that are necessary.

•    using print preview before printing documents to avoid paper waste 

You can also choose automatic settings to optimize your sustainability practices. For example, using the Earth Smart setting on your Xerox printer can reduce toner use and paper waste.

5.    Using Managed Print Services (MPS) to Track Your Company’s Carbon Footprint

Managed Print Services (MPS) can help you make a greener office a reality. MPS allows you to easily track and control how much your company uses printers and scanners. It both simplifies billing and improves your office’s environmental sustainability. 

MPS can vary based upon which print vendor you choose to use. STPT uses eValet, which offers several benefits for companies, including a printer app that lets you view all your devices at once. 

Your MPS provider should be able to tell you if your printers are efficient or inefficient when considering cost and energy usage. This makes it easy to replace inefficient printers and track how much paper waste your company creates, while saving money.

Your MPS provider should also indicate areas where you can implement energy-saving print settings to save Earth and save your company money at the same time. 

For example, your MPS provider can set up auto-shut off features that tell machines to turn off automatically when not in use, saving energy and reducing how much power your printers and scanners use during the day. 

If you’re interested in MPS with STPT or another print vendor, there are some associated costs and restrictions to be aware of. 
The cost of MPS varies depending on how many printers your business uses, the length of your printer lease terms, and how many prints your business makes every month. 

To be eligible for managed print services, you typically need to have a fleet of 15 or more machines in consistent use that are of good quality and utilize updated print features. (Older printer models may not work for MPS due to their technological limitations.) 

Do You Qualify for an MPS Study with STPT?

MPS can help you keep your office eco-conscious. If you want to track your office’s printing use, then print management is a good option to promote sustainable development. 

STPT is a print vendor who cares about you and the environment. We want to help you realize your environmental goals by offering helpful resources and providing you with great information. 

As a print vendor, we offer a variety of print services that can help you setup a green office. Reach out to us for more information or click on the link below to see if you qualify for a Managed Print Services Study with STPT. 

Schedule Your MPS Study Today