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8 Free Ways to Reduce Printing Costs — Tips from the Pros

A tree made from brown paper surrounded by crumpled up pieces of white paper
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Every office environment in this country would like to reduce paper waste and control 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 nearly half of that paper ending up in the trash.

The use of all that paper isn’t just wasteful, it’s expensive! 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 from our Managed Print experts:

  1. Reduce printing
  2. Print double sided copies
  3. Audit individual use
  4. Print in draft mode
  5. Go digital whenever possible
  6. Adjust default settings
  7. Recycle to reduce paper waste
  8. Partner with the pros

1. Reduce Printing

Sounds simple, but not all page printing is necessary. Reducing paper waste in the workplace may require a mind shift in how information is delivered. Remind employees, verbally and with friendly signage posted near each printing device. We recently saw this simply stated sign in a customer’s workplace: “Ask yourself: how many copies do I really need?”

Too often copies are made for things like meetings and presentations when the participants would actually prefer to view the documents online or have multiple PowerPoint thumbnails per page. Online documents can be editable, too, so people can view them during and after the meeting and add notes or next steps. And, when it comes to distribution lists, review yours regularly to ensure that everyone still needs to receive the information being printed.

2. Print Double Sided Copies

Consider duplex printing (printing on both sides) to cut your paper use nearly in half. 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!

3. Audit Individual Use

Today’s multifunction printer technologies can 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-regulation may be the best way to save a tree...or an entire forest!

Also consider minimizing the number of individual personal printers and desktop printers — many desktop printers are extremely inefficient, use expensive ink cartridges and aren’t even ENERGY STAR® rated. Consolidating a printer fleet is one of the easiest ways to save money.

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4. Print in Draft Mode

While the cost of paper can add up, printer toner or ink is notoriously expensive. Unless your document requires extreme detail and the highest quality, such as for a client presentation or brochure, draft mode will typically suffice. Printing in draft mode reduces the resolution of the document and, in turn, reduces the amount of ink used while remaining legible. You can change this setting in your printer menu.

5. Adjust Default Settings

On that note, don’t just assume employees will remember to manually change printer settings for every print job. Here are a few easily adopted standards that can be made defaults to help reduce printing costs:

  • Set computer and copier settings to automatically print double-sided and in black and white — printing in color every time is expensive. You’ll find the settings 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 serif fonts like Times New Roman or Garamond

6. Go Digital Whenever Possible

In the U.S., companies spend billions on printed forms each year, most of which are outdated within a few months. Not only that, but the typical employee spends a lot of time looking for printed documents lurking in filing cabinets. All that lost productivity and employee time adds up and costs companies money.

When electronic forms are organized and accessible online through a document management system, frequently used forms can be filled out and distributed quickly and easily without ever being printed, saving valuable time and money in the process. How important is it to maintain digital assets? It’s estimated that 70% of businesses who rely on paper-based records could fail within three weeks if all of them were lost in a fire or flood .

7. 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 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 more than 10 million tons of municipal solid waste each year. Anything we can do to minimize what we put into our landfills benefits us all.

8. Partner With The Pros

In addition to reducing paper waste, a Managed Print service can help you uncover additional printing environment 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. Explore how Managed Print services work and its many benefits by accessing our complimentary resource below, The Beginner’s Guide to Managed Print Services .

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.

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