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Think Before You Print: don't rub out the world with ignorance

Date Added: March 14, 2013 06:27:06 PM
Printing is sometimes necessary, especially in offices, but there are ways to reduce the impact it has on the planet. Using a printer more efficiently, but also considering alternatives to printed documents whenever possible and being willing to change your habits is the key to reducing your company's carbon footprint. How can eco/green printing make a difference in your office and for the planet?

First of all, it's necessary to print less and better. One of the best ways to save paper is to use double-sided prints as much as possible, which allows you to prevent paper waste and gain some space in the office. Investing in a printer that enables double-printing is therefore a wise decision. Also, using the print preview function is absolutely necessary, in order to select only what you need and check that there are no mistakes, formatting issues, etc. Printing errors account for a great percentage of paper waste, but it doesn't have to be this way. Another way to print more efficiently is to re-size and re-organise documents so that space is maximised and you can use less paper. Think about reducing margins or using smaller fonts, for example. As for used paper, always recycle it or use it for drafts and note-taking.

Another way to decrease your carbon footprint is to print documents only when absolutely necessary. Always consider alternatives, like emails for staff announcements and internal communications, digital documents during meetings or for training material, and any other electronic means of communication that can help you save ink and paper on a daily basis. Think before you print should become a motto for everyone in the company. The less you use the printer, the less energy you consume, which is always a good thing for the environment. If you really need to print documents though, you need to make sure every single copy is necessary and stop making some "just in case". Also, if you do decide to create a paper copy of some documents, avoid colour printing and print black & white booklets for example, as it is much less greedier in terms of ink.

Finally, eco printing also consists in changing your consumption habits and favouring environment-friendly equipment and material. Using recycled paper is quite high on the list and allows you to curb waste significantly. Something that may not be as well-known is the existence of natural ink, that doesn't use chemicals and is therefore much gentler for the planet and easier to recycle. Speaking of recycling, always make sure your ink cartridges and toners are disposed of in the best way possible, so it doesn't create unnecessary pollution. Some software was also created by various printing companies, to help you evaluate your carbon footprint and reduce it thanks to specific tools. This is also a great way to be more aware on your company's impact on the planet and to assess how small, consistent changes allow for great improvements on the long term, both in terms of costs and protection of the environment.