With Earth Day around the corner and sustainability more prominent on our minds than usual, it’s a good reminder to consider the importance of thoughtful printing practices. A study by Quocirca found that reducing environmental impact is a business priority for 36% of organizations, and reducing paper usage is one of the most common efforts in place to minimize environmental impact. But we know that going full digital is neither practical nor helpful, so how can we use our printers more conscientiously to lower our impact on the world around us?
With a few slight modifications, individuals and businesses can greatly offset printing-related waste for a eco-friendlier approach to printing.
1. USE RECYCLED PAPER
Opting for recycled paper is the most environmentally-friendly choice for paper-based communications. In fact, using 1 ton of 100% recycled paper instead of virgin fiber paper saves 24 trees, 3,533 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, and 11,635 gallons of wastewater. And thanks to advancements in recycled paper production, it now matches the quality and performance of virgin paper. By using less energy and water, emitting fewer carbon emissions, and decreasing landfill waste, printing on recycled paper provides significant environmental advantages.
2. PRINT DOUBLE-SIDED OR IN DRAFT MODE
One of the simplest ways to quickly cut your paper usage in half is to default to double-sided printing. Another easy hack is to print in draft mode to reduce ink or toner usage, which could save 5 to 10 percent of the total ink usage per page. Over time, this will add up to dramatically reduced ink usage.
3. RECYCLE INK CARTRIDGES PROPERLY
Disposing of ink cartridges can pose a challenge for many individuals, as they cannot be disposed of in the same recycling bins as other materials. The presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals in cartridges mean they will pollute the soil and water when they reach landfills, yet more than 375 million empty ink and toner cartridges are tossed yearly, eventually making their way to landfills where they don’t belong. But by properly recycling printer cartridges, you save energy and natural resources. 97% of the materials used in cartridges can be recycled! This means the waste is reduced to only 3% when recycled properly.
Plus, there are simple and convenient solutions available to properly dispose of ink cartridges. These include reaching out to the manufacturer to request postage-paid bags, as well as dropping off empty ink cartridges at big-box stores.
4. USE ENERGY-EFFICIENT PRINTERS
Opting for energy efficient printers can make a massive impact. In fact, ENERGY STAR certified products use 35% less energy than their conventional counterparts, and that includes printers. Learn more about printers that have received ENERGY STAR certification here, which also includes a link to the ENERGY STAR Product Finder to search for eco-friendly printers and remanufactured printers that give a second life to previously used products–a great option for schools, religious organizations, government organizations, and factories.
5. USE SMART PRINTING FEATURES
A printer that is considered “smart” is one that integrates with your network and incorporates features that enable greater control over the printing process, promoting responsible printing practices. These features encompass double-sided printing, page range, print quality, resolution, job deletion, and more. Nowadays, most printers available on the market come with smart printing options. Nevertheless, some manufacturers have taken things a step further by creating applications that enable wireless printing directly from mobile devices, while still offering access to smart printing features. The Mopria Print Service app, for instance, empowers Android users to locate and connect with a Mopria certified printer on the same Wi-Fi network as their device, regardless of whether they are at work, at home, or on-the-go. This allows for greater control over the print task at hand, enabling eco-friendly print options like the ones mentioned above, right from your smartphone.
By leveraging these technologies, strategies, and printing standards for your home or business, you can print more sustainably from anywhere, at any time. We encourage you to participate in Earth Day by visiting the Earth Day website to learn more strategies for helping the planet all year long.
Learn more about Mopria and our alliance of leaders in the print and scan industry at mopria.org.