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Green office tips: Reduce your printer waste

1st November 2012 Print

Busy people in fast paced offices rarely have time to stop and think about carbon foot prints, unnecessary office waste and turning off every light as you leave the room. But there is one thing that you could do without barley noticing you are doing it and it involves that essential piece of office equipment, the printer.

Small changes you will barely notice

There are many things you can do to help beef up your office green credentials. Small changes often deliver results in more ways than one and by putting a few changes into practice, you will also help save money as well as the planet.

While one printer may not seem like a huge electricity drain, a whole office full of them can really add up, so a simple but effective change you can undertake is to switch the machine off while not in use, particularly over the weekend when no one is in the office. In addition, purchase energy efficient printers when the time comes to renew them. Energy saving printers come with 'sleep' or power save modes that kick in when it is not in use. It is also worth remembering to check out all the current business electricity prices and tariffs, whether you are a small or large operation, to maximise any money saving benefits you gain from your new, green habits.

Think before you print

It is also possible to refill toner and ink cartridges for some makes of printer. By doing this, not only will you be saving a lot of cash by not shelling out for brand new ones, you are saving valuable landfill space by not condemning used (and non biodegradable) cartridges to a shallow grave. While we are on the subject of ink, remember to print non important printing using the printer's 'draft' setting. By doing this, you can save around half the ink you would use on a standard setting. And do you really need to print in colour?

In addition and where possible, use recycled paper. The standard of recycled paper is staggering and brilliant white and high quality recycled paper is now available. One more hot paper tip is to reuse any printing done accidentally as jotting pads. Simply cut in half and clip together with a bulldog clip, then hang next to telephones to use as message pads.

The biggest small change you can undertake is to simply not print! Ask yourself, 'do I need to print this?' Printing often become a habit rather than an essential part of your task, but it is a habit that can be easily broken. If you have documents that need to be sent to colleagues, convert them to a file friendly format such as PDF and email them. Letter or document editing and proofreading can be done on the computer, as can the reading of web pages. If you are proofreading, make use of the 'track changes' feature on your computer to keep a check on what you have changed and where. If you do decide that it is essential to print, then remember to cram as much as you can onto the page you are printing. Smaller fonts that are not in bold and adjusting your margins to fit more text onto the page are all sure fire ways to save both paper and ink.

This post was written on behalf of Ener-G Group – visit their website for more information relating to making your office more environmentally friendly alongside additional renewable energy approaches you can adopt.