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Create a more sustainable office: top tips on how to incorporate print into your sustainability strategy

Part 1 of a 2-part article

If you think your small-to-medium sized business (SMB) can’t make a difference in promoting environmental sustainability, think again. Whether your workers are in the office, at home, or on the road, there is plenty you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect our precious environment.

"Every little bit makes a big difference."

Debbie Gualtieri, Director of Product Safety and Sustainability at Xerox®

Creating a green strategy

Debbie says she often gets asked by SMBs about where to start in pursuing sustainability. She recommends that SMBs – and all businesses – start by creating a sustainability strategy and focus on “things that are within your control,” she advises. Besides common sense habits like drinking from re-usable coffee cups and turning off lights when leaving a room, improving practices in the use of office equipment and supplies your business uses are key. Here are some options to consider:

  • Encourage best practices, such as conserving electricity and using recycled paper. Replace ageing devices with new low energy printers and other office equipment.

  • Use products made from recycled material and second-life parts.

  • Return or recycle spent consumables and equipment, so materials can be re-used rather than landfilled. For example, the Xerox Green World Alliance recycling program provides a returns service for spent toner cartridges and supplies; customers returned over 4.3M units in 2022.

  • Educate employees on sustainability practices when printing, such as two-sided printing, smaller font sizes, smaller margins, and printing in draft mode when a top-quality copy is not needed.

Choosing the right printer is key

The right printer is essential to your sustainability strategy. Today’s printers have a growing number of features that reduce energy use, emissions, and waste, with recycling and reuse options.

Start by checking which printers have globally recognized third-party environmental certifications. Top ecolabels include ENERGY STAR®, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT®), and Blue Angel – all of which include energy efficiency criteria that will help you meet your sustainability goals. While Xerox has a goal for all new printers to meet these ecolabels, as applicable, other vendors may not.

You should then review if the capabilities of particular printers and toner are geared for your company. Essential features include:

  • Two-sided printing

  • Preview mode to review document drafts before printing

  • Energy-saving sleep and standby modes

  • Automatic settings to reduce toner use and paper waste

  • Automatic setting to turnoff banner page printing

It is also worth considering whether the product is manufactured with recycled material and if it is designed for maximum efficiency. For example, Xerox has developed Emulsion Aggregation (EA) toner that uses less energy to manufacture and produces more prints per pound/kilogram compared to conventional toner*.

Government environmental agencies are a good source of product information. In the U.S., the EPA has resources to help identify greener products and services.

Learn more about the environmental attributes of printers and watch the Xerox ‘How Sustainability Works’ video to help build your sustainability strategy.

Finally, read part two of this 2-part article series to see what to look out for when selecting a printer vendor and how maintenance and support can help you achieve your sustainability goals.

* Available for use with selected printers, check xerox.com for details

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