Environmental friendliness and the modern office might seem at odds with each other, but methods do exist to reduce waste and mitigate a company’s carbon footprint. In fact, a whole industry has sprung up around these two green initiatives and they’ve taken the modern office by storm. Paper reduction and ink recycling programs are two ways that an office can achieve a sustainable printing environment. However, what does that really mean when the average employee prints almost 10,000 pages per year?

These strategies cause little disruption to the average office’s current workflow but pack a punch in cost and, yes, tree savings. Read on to learn more about recycling benefits and how sustainability can actually save office money, learn about finances done right.

State of the Printer: Actual Yearly Paper and Ink Consumption

Offices use a lot of paper. Whether it is someone printing off two dozen copies of a PowerPoint presentation, or reprinting a document because of smudges or ink streaks, the only thing as central to the office as the printer is the overflowing recycling bin.

Printing is also one of the most wasteful aspects of a business. The EPA estimates that the US consumes about 30 percent of the world’s office paper. However, only about 68 percent of all paper in the US is recycled. The rest went to the landfill, or about 18 million tons – the equivalent of 7.2 billion reams of standard printing paper.

Another major environmental impact occurs in toner and ink cartridge waste. Cartridges, in particular, are made from plastic and metal. They’re designed to withstand the rigors of the printer and to survive heavy use. Their manufacturing process reflects this: one single cartridge puts 10.6 pounds of CO2 into the air.

We’re throwing out 375 million ink and cartridge toners every year. Likewise, because they’re made of materials designed to withstand everything, these cartridges don’t break down. Every single cartridge ever manufactured since the first printer in the 1960s still exists somewhere.

Spend Less Money for a Higher Yield with Remanufactured Cartridges

Cartridge recycling has existed for at least the last two decades. However, it’s begun to gain popularity in the past five years as companies – and printer manufacturers – discover the many recycling benefits associated with it. It’s completely possible to clean them up, refill, and resell them. This is known as remanufacturing. It’s a great way to acquire high-quality, high-yield toner cartridges for a fraction of the cost.

Remanufactured toner can cost up to 70 percent less than OEM cartridges, although the average hovers around 20 percent. This savings occurs because refurbishing cartridges are far less resource and labor intensive. These cartridges also perform as well as if not better than OEM cartridges. Just make sure to select a reputable vendor which tests its cartridges according to industry standards.

Adopting recycled cartridges is a high-impact but low-disruption strategy to significantly reducing an office’s carbon footprint. In fact, many ink recycling programs make it as easy as possible by scheduling pickups, so a business doesn’t need to do anything more than collect up the empty cartridges. A company thus not only spends less money but also less time.


Optimize with a Managed Print Service

Managed print services are well-known for their ability to reduce operational costs in the printing environment overall. Much of this occurs through the reduction in printing volume, especially through the elimination of unnecessary printing. While this has positive impacts on the environment, many of these providers can also take it a step further, assisting with the transition towards a greener office. A managed print service provider can:

  • Help companies develop energy-efficient printing infrastructure.
  • Implement software which tracks an office’s carbon footprint.
  • Partner with companies with tree-planting initiatives.
  • Acquire cost-effective recycled or remanufactured consumables.

Want to go green but are out of ideas? Contact a managed print specialist with expertise in environmental impact reduction.

Extended Yield Cartridges: A Secret Weapon

Extended yield cartridges are cartridges which have been modified to provide a greater printing capacity than what would otherwise be possible from the cartridge’s original design. In other words, whereas a regular cartridge may print 100 pages, an extended yield cartridge might print 120 or even 150 pages. Combined with the cost savings of remanufactured cartridges, extended yield cartridges are capable of quietly delivering a punch when it comes to the consumption rate of print supplies.

Smaller offices, and offices which don’t have particularly demanding printing needs will benefit most from extended yield cartridges. A slower rate of consumption means fewer cartridges get used at all.

Sustainable Printing and Ink Recycling Programs with Smile

Sustainable printing is a realistic goal for many offices. In fact, it may be a necessary goal because consumers increasingly care about a company’s commitments to the wider world. Adopting green printing practices such as participation in ink recycling programs is easy and delivers results without disrupting an entire office workflow.

Interested in developing a sustainable printing environment? Contact Smile today to get started with an audit of your print environment.