Many organizations have been tasked with “greening IT” meaning they must find ways to reduce the environmental impacts they are having through their IT activities. At first one might not think that a print or document output strategy would be somewhere to gain environmental efficiencies yet time after time Independent Print Management Group (IPMG) clients have reduced their e-waste, their paper consumption and their power usage by implementing an effective document output strategy. Let’s look at each of these categories individually.
E-waste generally refers to the disposal of electronic hardware associated with an organizations network…servers, cabling, monitors and printers, copiers and fax machines and their associated supplies, such as cartridges and fuser kits, all fall into the category. Many organizations do not have a clear strategy on how to dispose of these items. When it comes to printers and fax machines several vendors do in fact have eco-friendly ways to dispose of these items however if not they are often passed from one workgroup to another and may eventually end up in an employee’s home office and eventually find their way to landfill. New methods of recycling are available that actually grind up these devices and sort plastic from metal, recycling 98% of the device. These recycling companies have full security for verification purposes and can send the client video of their waste from pick up to the final stages of recycling.
Paper consumption is still on the rise….this after years of hype about the paperless office. Why is this? Certainly with email and other technologies helping us not to print these paper consumption numbers should be going down not up, yet print volumes continue to rise. There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, end users are often not aware of the technologies available to them that can reduce paper consumption. Features such as scan-to-email and scan-to-file can reduce paper usage. So can faxing from the desktop. Instead of creating a document, printing it, scanning into a fax machine then printing at the other end users can simply create and send electronically to a fax board in an MFD. After that step the fax is simply sent to the receiving unit.
Another big paper waster is people accidentally picking up part of someone else’s print job at the shared network printer. When this happens, more often than not, the person who is missing part of their document will reprint the entire print job and dispose of the partial print job. Secure printing allows users to call up one or all of their print jobs at the device and eliminates the problem.
Setting standards for duplexing also works well as long as it is understood that certain workgroups will need to print documents in simplex mode on a regular basis. The default to duplex should be discussed with each workgroup before it is implemented.
Finally, a strong communication strategy that keeps staff aware of the organizations paper reduction goals can go a long way. Simple messaging embedded in email headers and other documents such as “Please consider the environment before printing this document” constantly remind users to think twice about printing.
With regard to power consumption the vast majority of organizations do not know how much power their print and copy fleets are consuming. There is a misconception that “sleep mode” or “stand-by mode” uses very little power. In fact these modes are intended to keep fuser rollers at a temperature that will permit the device to warm up to operating temperature in a reasonable amount of time. This makes complete sense during working hours but not so much at night time.
IPMG (www.ipmgroup.ca) has measured power consumption for clients before and after the implementation of a print strategy. The results have been a 50% reduction in power consumption simply by installing the correct number of devices, and programming all capable devices to turn off at night.