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10 changes that will make your business’ print more sustainable, more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective

Sustainability is now at the forefront of every business’ thinking.  We simply have to become more environmentally friendly in the way we operate.  As print is something that has historically been somewhat wasteful (not to mention overly expensive), we’d like to suggest 10 changes that will make your business’ print more sustainable, more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective.

The print industry has been making a conscious effort to become greener and develop more sustainable printing techniques.

However, while these efforts are often directed towards achieving that most noble of objectives, the paperless office, the truth is that for many businesses it is not possible to stop printing altogether and become completely paperless.  This is why it’s so important to review where you are, where you can drastically cut back on print and adopt more sustainable print practices across your business.

The 10 suggestions we will share here bring together some of the most important changes we’ve helped our clients make and while they are very much anchored around environmental best practice, we know from experience they will also help you achieve much more.

Making these changes to your print processes won’t just save energy and reduce waste, they will also reduce costs and increase productivity.

1. Educate your colleagues

While you can put all the right ideas in place, they will only be successful if your colleagues know what is expected of them and why.

We’d always suggest you begin any sustainability programme with a detailed and very public training programme.  You could also support this with financial incentives to encourage them to adhere to the new processes and reduce waste.

2. Replace hard copy documents with e-documents

Moving your workflow to electronic documents will immediately reduce the amount of paper you use.  If you support this change by introducing scan-to-email technology and moving to electronic document storage, you will hugely reduce the volume of paper and ink you need, the amount of electricity required to produce hard copies and free up valuable (and potentially expensive) ‘dead space’ to store all the paper you produce.

3. Use recycled paper

As we’ve said, very few businesses will be able to become completely paperless.  But you can put an edict in place to say you’ll only used recycled paper from now on for the hard copy documents you do need to print.

4. Work out how many printers you really need

If you analyse how your printers are actually being used, you may be surprised to see how many you can lose.  Similarly, take a look at which of their functions are being used.  You may be able to replace multiple devices with more energy efficient multifunctional printers (MFPs) that can copy, fax, print and scan,

5. Outsource your asset management

By giving the responsibility to manage your assets to a specialist will enable them to keep a constant eye on what can be lost, what should be upgraded and what new kit has come onto the market that could reduce your energy consumption and resources costs and optimise your print efficiency.

They are also much more likely to have more developed recycling models in place which again will make the disposal and replacement of old hardware and supplies more environmentally-friendly.

6. Redirect your printing to the most cost effective device

By adopting rule-based printing you can ensure certain jobs are automatically redirected to the most suitable device in terms of energy consumption, resources and output.  It also allows you to have greater control over the use of colour and double-sided printing.

7 . Minimise energy consumption

When you buy or lease new devices, make sure they have the best energy and industry ratings.  And once they’re in place, use all their energy saving modes so they’re not using any energy while they’re not being used.  This is going to become even more important as energy costs continue to rise.

8.Control print volumes

Take a more strategic view on what needs to be printed and how much you actually need to print.  Instead of running off hundreds of brochures or 20+ meeting packs, look at what can be supplied electronically then make a decision – using historic data if it’s available – to make more informed decisions on how many copies (if any) are needed.

9. Regularly check your settings

Defaulting your printers to, for example, high-speed printing, toner saving and selected text or pages settings will have significant on the amount of paper, toner and even electricity you use.

10. What gets measured gets done!

While putting the right environmental initiatives in place is a great start, long-term success requires ongoing measurement and management.

You need to record how much these changes have reduced your energy consumption, reduced the volume of paper and ink you use, reduced your printing costs and improved your workflow.  Having these figures to hand will allow you to keep evolving your sustainability processes so your business continues to enjoy the environmental, financial and operational benefits it should.

How sustainable are your print processes?

Every project needs a start point.  After all, how can you get to where you want to get to if you don’t know where you are today?

We are hugely experienced in helping businesses just like yours audit their current position and work out which steps they will need to take to become more environmentally friendly, more efficient and more cost-effective.

The first stage of this process is our Digital Health Check.  Our team will assess the way you work in 10 key areas.  We’ll then provide feedback on how your score compares to similar businesses and set out the plan we know will allow you to achieve your operational and sustainability objectives.

If you would like us to conduct a Digital Health Check and map  out your journey towards a more sustainable future, please contact us today.



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