Do you really need to print that?


“”Is there a better way? Can you avoid printing that page?”

Photograph by Annie Sprat, Unsplash

Many project teams use tablets and television screens to project information during meetings for meeting participants to consider and discuss. And while we have cloud storage and the ability to access and edit or markup files from multiple devices, it appears that printing has not yet lost its appeal for some. If you are not yet ready to consider a working day without a printer, here are some ways to be more sustainable with the way you work on a day-to-day basis.

Removing Waste: Recycling

Have you considered what the end-of-life would be for that page you just printed and may be ready to throw into the trash bin soon? Why not set up a special bin for just collecting paper to be recycled? In some locations, secure bins are available which ensures that sensitive papers are securely stored until they are collected by the supplier and recycled.

Refills

Are you making use of a printer cartridge refill scheme? Instead of throwing used cartridges away, there may be suppliers in your area where you can get refills for your used cartridges.

And talking about printing cartridges – can you use only one colour – black? Having multiple colours may generate additional waste and perhaps you can save the colourful displays for virtual online documents?

Materials used

The paper you use for printing, is it made from environmentally-friendly recycled processes? Why not ask your local suppliers to advise you about recycled paper options available to you?

Habits

If you print on both sides of a page, you could be saving on paper usage and you could be lowering the weight of printed documents being shipped to recipients of your printed materials!

Fewer printers

Do you really need so many printers in your office? Or could you lower the ongoing electric power needs of printers and also encourage more physical movement of people during the day. Asking them to walk a little further in order to retrieve printed pages may be a great way to ensure they move out of a sedentary posture and increase blood circulation. Regular breaks and physical movement are great ways to improve physical and mental well–being at work.

Lower energy usage

Ensure that printers are turned off completely at the end of the working day and over weekends and periods of office closures. This ensures that no power is used in standby mode.

Consider digital solutions

Looking at the processes you use in your office – are you printing notifications or informational posters and is there a way to instead share it with colleagues, suppliers or customers digitally? For example – could suppliers download an electronic file from your website showing how you would like invoices prepared?

Understand your data and set improvement targets

Do you know who prints the most pages in the office? Is there an opportunity to engage with someone on printing more sustainably? Not everyone has been exposed to ways they could lower energy usage or how to avoid creating waste.. It could be great to have a discussion with someone about this.. Improving awareness is often the first step towards more sustainable practices at the office.

Getting together to set targets in your office like “We track our number of printed pages, and we strive to lower it by 10% this month compared to the previous month!” can be great ways to keep everyone focused on lowering your environmental footprint as an office..

In most cases, becoming more aware and conscious of ways that we can become less wasteful and generate less waste can be the first step toward being more innovative and finding new ways to positively impact the world and those around us. What will you do today to lower the waste you generate?

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