Predictions of a paperless office have been around for years, but paper documents don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. While printing may still be a necessity in the modern office, it comes with an environmental cost. Paper, ink, and the printers themselves each take a small toll on the environment. While we can’t eliminate printing completely, we can do our part by making greener printing choices. Consider these simple solutions to print greener in your office.

Practice Mindful Printing – The old mantra “recycle, reduce, reuse” applies to printing, too. The first step is creating a culture of mindful printing. Before you or your workers hit “print”, think:
• Does a digital version work just as well? If so, skip the print.
• Do I really need copies for everyone in the room? If not, print just one or a few.
• Is this just a quick and dirty reference where I can print 2-up or 4-up (print 2 or 4 reduced pages on one sheet of paper)? If so, do it!
• Would this document work double-sided? If so, you can cut your paper use in half.

These are just a handful of examples of practicing mindful printing. Getting your “serial printers” to be mindful can go a long way toward reducing your overall printing amounts. This reduction will save your company money and lower its environmental impact.

Purchase Eco-Friendly Inks – Traditional printer inks are petroleum based. However, greener alternatives are available for some devices, including soy- and vegetable-based inks. If these alternative inks won’t meet your needs, look for ISO-certified ink manufacturers. This certification shows a level of environmental conscientiousness. It’s a good sign that the manufacturer is working to minimize its environmental impact.

Recycle Used Ink Cartridges – Tossing a used ink cartridge in the trash takes an environmental toll. The plastic components won’t biodegrade, and the leftover petroleum-based ink releases more volatile organic compounds into the landfill. Reputable ink manufacturers such as Toshiba offer a free cartridge recycling or reuse program. In many cases, the cartridges can be refurbished and reused, and if not, the manufacturer can safely dispose of the spent cartridges. As an authorized Toshiba dealer, Golden Gate Office Solutions proudly participates in their ecoStyle Recycling Program. Click here to learn more about this and our other sustainability efforts.

Buy Recycled Paper – Whenever possible, buy printing paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recyclable content.

These four solutions may seem small, but together they can make a big difference. If you’d like to learn more about greening your company’s printing practices, contact us today to learn more!