Businesses print large numbers of paper each year, and the environmental impact can be significant. According to Reduce.org, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year.
Thus, a small company of 100 employees can print nearly one million pieces of paper every 12 months. Here are ways to save money on your printing costs as well as reduce your office’s environmental footprint.
1. Is hard copy necessary?
Ask yourself if it’s (absolutely) necessary to have a paper version of your document.
If you have a GPS device on your vehicle’s dashboard, it may not be necessary to print directions at all. If you want an alternative in case your car’s GPS malfunctions, you can download smartphone apps that can display local maps and provide real-time advice on directions. One such iPhone app is GPS Direction.
If your content has a digital version, you may be wasting paper by printing.
2. Keep electronic records.
Many users still print records for their file. For modern offices, file cabinets are remnants of a bygone era. Unless documents are digitized they’re still vulnerable to theft and damage from fire and flooding.
The solution is to digitize.
Scanning documents enable you to save on printing costs. Electronic records also let you save important content on external hard drives. For example, the CamScanner app lets Android users create PDF files by scanning documents through their smartphone’s camera.
3. Use a cost-efficient printer.
If it’s necessary to print hard copy, use a cost-efficient printer. Cheaper models are often more expensive to operate over the long-run. Cheap printers (those that sell for less than $50) often cost nearly 20 cents a page for black and color ink because each cartridge may yield less than 300 pages.
In contrast, a high-end printer may cost over $200 but yield over 2,000 pages per cartridge. Such a model would reduce printing costs to nearly 2 cents a page, a 90 percent savings on ink.
If you don’t need to change cartridges as often, you’ll save on hidden costs such as time and fuel costs (from no longer needing to go to a local store).
4. Use the blank side of recycled paper.
While the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes 30 percent of the world’s paper, according to Reduce.org.
If you need to print draft versions, go to the recycling bin and grab used paper. Used paper will likely be thrown out with the trash, but the blank side still possesses some utility.
Print the draft content on the unused (blank) side of recycled paper.
5. Refill and recycle ink cartridges. Buy remanufactured ones.
Large ink cartridge websites may allow you to compare printers and cartridges for considerations on cost and performance. Printer.com lets you compare costs of ownership over the life of the device so you can make an informed decision.
Have your old printer cartridges refilled for less than $15 or $20 at retailers such as Walgreens or Costco. A used cartridge can be refilled up to 10 times, which can provide significant annual savings for a small business.
Some niche stores, including Web-based outlets, sell remanufactured cartridges at a fraction of the cost of name-brands. These remanufactured cartridges can be over 50 percent cheaper.
Offices that operate more efficiently can reduce their printing costs and environmental impact. Go digital, and recycle paper as well as ink cartridges.
Check out Marv Dumon’s technology blog on Examiner.com.