Despite the talk of paperless offices, a lot of printing material still flies about. There are some things that just need to be printed, and not every business has their head in the cloud just yet.
While going digital is a good way to protect the environment, it is possible to be eco-friendly even when you do a lot of printing, especially if printed products are part of your trade.
Use Recycled Paper
This may seem obvious, but how many people can honestly say their offices are full to the brim with recycled paper?There might be few reasons why businesses might not use recycled paper, and a lot of them are outdated.
First: the price. Recycled paper used to be more expensive, it now costs the same as normal paper.
Secondly the quality of recycled paper has reached that of normal paper. Not all recycled paper is grayish – de-inked recycled paper has that conventional whiteness of the paper made from virgin.
But let’s get down to some facts and statistics on just how much you can help the environment by using recycled paper. 40% of the world’s industrial logging is used to make paper. That’s right, almost half. Recycling paper helps reduce that stress on our forests.
According to Waste Watch every tonne of recycled paper makes us save 30,000 litres of water and 3000 to 4000 KWh of electricity. Those are resources that can be used for something else like more paper, which in turn would bring the costs of recycled paper productions further down, allowing you, the business, to save more money.
Together with forest management programs such as FSC, recycling paper can make printing sustainable, i.e., with enough care the raw materials used to the paper can be renewed at a faster pace than what we consume.
Another advantage of recycling paper is less landfilling and incineration costs. The more waste we create, the higher the taxes and vice versa.
Last by not least, the production recycled paper uses less Chlorine, which is dangerous for the environment and is also one of the causes of cancer.
It is hard to see all these benefits as sometimes they don’t seem to affect our immediate surroundings, but it’s a false impression because they do. Also don’t forget, one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to recycle paper is often to just use the other side of the sheet! Rather than print one-sided documents and then throw them in the bin, why not re-use that blank side? Instant gain right there.
Think of Waste
Do you really need that document to be 15 pages long? Unless you are doing some fancy design, maybe adjusting the margins a little might reduce it the number of pages. If you needed that document to go to all your employees, the amount of saving increases significantly.
Using an ink-savvy font is a good idea too. Did you know that Calibri makes you save over 70% of ink over Arial? Or that you can substitute your beloved Times New Roman with (the more elegant) Garamond and save roughly 30%?
Consider also printing in draft mode or in black and white where the nature of your printing allows it.
Toners Can Be Recycled Too
The cartridges can be cleaned and refilled and lots of shops such as Cartridge Shop sell them at lower price than the official cartridges. Some shops will even let you trade in your empty cartridges in exchange for a coupon.
Alternatively you can refill them yourself. Your cartridge provider should have instructions on how many times they can be refilled, but in average you can refill them 2 more times. If they don’t have a drum, you can refill them up to 5 times.
Keep in mind that each toner cartridge contains about 1-2 litres of oil, steel and aluminium. These are non-renewable resources which will go to waste with your cartridge. And that’s without even taking into consideration the plastic elements and the energy used to process these materials and make the cartridge.
If we were to recycle the 10000 tonnes of cartridge waste the UK produces on its own every year, we’d be saving 15 million litres of oil.
As you can see, every little counts.