Environmentally Friendly Printing
Is Printing Bad for the Environment?
It depends on the circumstances. Many traditional printing companies use chlorine-based bleaches for certain types of printing. When these papers are then disposed of (thrown away or re-pulped), it can result in toxic chemicals being released into the water, soil, and air. In addition, many high-volume printing companies use technology that emits potentially dangerous amounts of ozone.
The good news is that more and more printing companies are introducing sustainable, “green” printing processes.
What is Green Printing?
“Green” printing is the practice of using renewable energy resources, reducing the use of energy and greenhouse emissions, and using recycled materials. Today, recycled printing paper is both more accessible and more affordable than ever before. Some eco-friendly papers can even be considered carbon neutral because they are produced using renewable energy, such as wind power.
One of the newest green printing techniques is the use of tree-free paper. This unique paper alternative is derived from vegetable products such as bamboo, jute, wheat, straw or agricultural waste.
More and more companies have implemented digital printing presses that use less power, require fewer chemicals and use biodegradable toner.
It’s not just the printing companies that are working towards eco-friendly solutions. In France, a design company routinely delivers branding designs to its clients that purposely use less ink. They’ve even taken it upon themselves to design eco-friendly brands for major corporations. How many times every day do you think the MacDonald’s logo is printed? What if each of those iconic “M” logos contained only ½ as much ink as they normally do? It would make a big difference.
But we’re a small company. What can we do?
Every company can implement eco-friendly solutions, regardless of their size or how much they print.
One thing you can start doing right now is reading your documents online and using communal sharing platforms like Google Docs instead of printing everything. If you have to print, look 100% recycled paper or paper that is produced from a sustainably managed forest.
Recycle your printer ink cartridges. Most every manufacturer offers some kind of recycling program. Many managed service companies do as well. (Ours happens to be right here.)
Turn off unused devices. When the last person leaves the office each day, they turn off the lights. But what about the office printer? Chances are it’s on 24/7, even if it’s left in sleep-mode. Get in the habit of turning your office technologies off each night. Even before you do that, when you’re buying new office technology, look for the Energy Star label, which guarantees a third-party certification that your computer will use 25% less energy than conventional models.
Environmentally friendly printing is possible at any scale. The big companies are doing it, and you should be, too.