Every office environment in this country would like to reduce paper waste and printing costs. The cumulative costs are staggering: one study shows that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year, with as much as 70% of that paper ending up in the trash.
How much does printer paper cost? An internal study by Citigroup showed that if each of its employees used double-sided copying to conserve just one sheet of paper each week, the savings would be worth $700,000 a year!
Are you wondering how you can get your entire organization motivated to reduce printing costs and paper waste — and what are the steps involved? Think before printing, and use these simple, easy-to-implement tips for minimizing what you spend on paper and printing:
Sounds simple, but not all printing is necessary. Reducing paper waste in the workplace may require a mind shift in how information is delivered. Too often copies are made for things like meetings and presentations when the participants would actually prefer to view the documents online. Online documents can be editable, too, so people can view them during and after the meeting and add notes or next steps.
Remind employees, verbally and with friendly signage posted near each printer, to be practical in determining how many copies to make. We recently saw this simply stated sign in a customer’s workplace: “Ask yourself: how many copies do I really need?”
Today’s printer technologies can even measure how many copies individual staff members make each month. Most are surprised to learn just how much paper they’re actually going through and, with that knowledge, they’re more likely to self-regulate the number they’re printing. Self-regulations may be the best way to save a tree...or an entire forest!
Finally, when it comes to distribution lists, review yours regularly to ensure that everyone on it still needs to receive the information being printed.
Go Digital Whenever Possible
In the U.S., companies spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which are outdated within 3 months. Not only that, but the typical employee spends a lot of time looking for printed documents lurking in filing cabinets, with each lost document costing $350 to $700 in employee time.
When electronic forms are organized and accessible online, frequently used forms can be filled out and distributed quickly and easily, taking the place of many that are printed and saving valuable time and money in the process.
Make Saving on Printing Costs Easy (And Mandatory)
Here are a few easily adopted standards that can be made defaults in every employee’s computer to help reduce printing:
- Set computer and copier settings to automatically print double-sided and in black and white – don’t just assume people will remember to do it. You’ll find the settings right in the computer’s print dialogue box
- Set Word documents to have narrower margins. This means more of the paper will be used, with the cumulative effect being fewer pages needed over time
- Reduce the point size of your type font to 10 and you’ll start using less paper
- Some fonts actually use less ink than others (though the effect is undoubtedly modest). Arial, for example, uses less ink than do serif fonts like Times New Roman or Garamond
Recycle to Reduce Paper Waste
One of the best ways to reduce the effects of paper waste is to recycle. In addition to making separate waste bins available for paper and other recyclables, encourage employees to refrain from discarding paper that’s been printed on just one side.
Suggest what school teachers (who often pay for their own class supplies) often do: use the opposite side for taking notes, making lists or to jot down reminders. Discarded paper is a major component of many landfill sites, accounting for about 35% by weight of municipal solid waste. Anything we can do to minimize what we put into our landfills benefits us all.
Partner With The Pros
In addition to reducing paper waste, a Managed Print service can help you uncover additional printing expenses you may not have even thought of. When you partner with an expert in office technology, like the Gordon Flesch Company, you have a team on your side thinking about the efficiency and productivity of your business every day. One of the ways we help organizations like yours reduce paper waste and printer-related costs is to proactively perform maintenance on your printers and copiers so they work properly at all times.
The other way is by assessing your processes and equipment, then developing a smart plan that gets the most out of every printer (and eliminates those that aren’t needed) and recommending functionality that allows you to monitor, measure and minimize your paper and toner usage.
Those are just a few of the ways we deliver efficiency and productivity. What are some of the waste or cost pain points in your workplace? Give us a challenge and we’ll come back to you with smart, practical and actionable insights. It’s what we do! Reach out today.