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Eight tips for greener printing

Former Product Marketing Director
The United Nations marked June 5th as World Environment Day to raise awareness and encourage action to protect our environment. Here we play our part and look at printing with eight tips to consider ensuring your organization is doing what it can to curb wasteful printing.
If you have a confused look on your face – why is Y Soft, who is in the business of supporting printing – encouraging less printing, let me explain. Our business is all about helping organizations print smarter by providing ways to reduce costs, increase document security and improving productivity and all those things mean printing less. Read on and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

The need to go with green printing

According to Statista, it is estimated 399 million metric tons of paper was consumed globally in 2020. This figure is expected to steadily increase to around 461 million metric tons by 2030 with paper accounting for around 26% of total waste at landfills. Businesses around the world are taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint.

How to print responsibly

We know that printing plays an integral role for many businesses, and this can be a difficult area to make changes. Recycling paper is a great start, but let’s delve deeper for a bigger impact. Here’s are eight tips to consider for printing with sustainability in mind:
  • Plan. Adopt a green printing policy to become both more economical and environmentally minded with your office printing. Wasting paper, ink, and toner doesn't make economic or environmental sense. Consider the paper, energy, and other materials being used and strive towards an ethos of mindful printing. Get corporate buy in on obtainable goals for reducing paper, ink, toner and energy and the policies that will be put in place to achieve those goals. In some organizations, sustainable printing is part of corporate printing governance.
  • Shout about it. We see it in email footers and we all know the slogan, but do you and your teams really think before you print? Promote your green printing policy on signs, emails, and training sessions. Remind users to only print if absolutely necessary. Emails don’t need to be printed to be read. Blank pages are a waste.

    Some Y Soft customers use YSoft SAFEQ reporting data to create individual user or group internal portals so staff can actually see their printing use and the environmental impact over time. This is especially useful if you charge departments for their usage. Departments pay attention when they see what they are paying for and how their behavior can impact their costs. 

  • Enforce the rules. Single side and color printing uses a lot of resources. With a print management system that includes rules-based printing, you can set up automatic rules such as double-sided and black and white printing. Staff print as normal, and the job automatically converts to duplex and/or BW. You can also set printing limits and enforce economy mode. Setting rules ensures your green printing policy is adhered to.
  • Monitor. Do you know how much paper your business uses? As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Reporting provides information about overall print volumes, broken down by printer, group, department, user and so on. Green reports can be used to identify areas where waste and associated environmental costs can be minimized showing savings on trees, water, and CO2.
  • Remind. Informing users of the cost and impact of their print job before they print raises awareness and encourages more sustainable printing. A pop-up box alert encourages users to think before they print and echoes organizational efforts of reducing environmental impact.
  • Pull Printing. While pull printing gives your organization the convenience of printing from any printer, it also prevents print jobs from printing that are no longer needed. Print jobs are not processed unless the user has been authenticated at the printer and selects the job they need. Print jobs that have been submitted can be deleted from the print queue (or automatically deleted after a set pre-defined time). Jobs that are never printed mean less paper waste and other print consumables but also less energy. The option to print all exists if settings allow for it but the user can make informed decisions about what to print.
  • Usage Quotas. Defining user quotas for printing can reinforce a green message to print only what is truly needed. Additionally print administrators can set up a threshold notification so that an alert is sent when the defined quota is almost reached. This also helps identify print abusers so that further education on ways to conserve can be put in place.
  • Digitize. There are many ways print management with scan workflows can help save paper but consider your fax machine. Yes, many organizations still rely on fax as it is still considered a secure communication method. Many organizations also have the need for the occasional fax. Using digital fax – an option available in SAFEQ Suites – reduces the amount of paper as faxes can be received as a digital file.

Saving the planet one print job at a time

Printing doesn’t need to cost the earth, and the above tips can make a difference. We all have a role to play and need to remember to think before we print. The tips above are not an exhaustive list of things a business can do. They are achievable using a print management and document capture system such as YSoft SAFEQ.
We’d love to hear about your green printing tips you have implemented, let us know in the comments.
Matthew Wrighton
Matt is a former product director of Y Soft. In that role, he led the product strategy and execution for YSoft SAFEQ, ensuring customer insights and our company’s strategy and goals are supported by those in product development. He's a family man with 3 children. He loves sports, both watching and participating, especially football. Outside of sports, he loves socializing and enjoying a nice glass of wine and good food.
View all posts by Matthew Wrighton

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