Most businesses are interested in reducing their documents printing and doing so in an environmentally friendly way. There are tools available with multifunction printers and some network printers that can help in this effort. Here are 6 tips for more Eco focused printing.
1. Use Print and Hold
This feature permits a print job to be sent to the device and held in memory until it is released by an operator. Why would you use this? Perhaps you are going to use a special paper to do your print and you don't know for sure if it is in the device. With print and hold you can send your job, check the device first and then once you are sure you have the right paper in place, release the job. This avoids printing on the wrong paper and killing a few more trees by having to do the job twice.
2. Use Proof Print
This feature is very similar to number 1 but works a bit differently. In this case you can send your job selecting the proof print but also asking for the number of sets you need. The printer runs the first set and then pauses until you can check to be sure all is right and when you are happy you release the job to have the balance produced. This feature is used when you have a more complicated document setup or are looking to proof the complete document. The first set will print and then the document is held till you release it. The first set is counted as part of the volume you requested and the file completes.
3. Use Physical Mailboxes on Your MFP Printer
Some brands and models of multifunction printers permit you to add physical mailboxes to the output area of the device. When used in a network environment this permits individuals or groups within an office to have a designated output area thus eliminating the confusion over whose print has been delivered. The physical mailbox is superior to electronic ones offered on some devices as they permit the timing of the delivery of the print to be done without the user being at the device. Elimination of lost jobs (and subsequent reprinting) throught these devices can easily pay their cost.
4. Default Print Drivers to Duplex
It is hard to believe but many offices do not set their printers up so users automatically duplex their output. In the rare occasion when duplex is not appropriate it is easy to over ride the setting for that job. Standardized duplex can have a major impact on the amount of paper consumed.
5. Match Print Output to the Suitable Printer
In offices where there are multiple printers of varying operating cost it is important to setup the system so that prints for larger more complex jobs get routed to printers with the lowest operating costs. Using desktop convenience printers for long runs not only is more expensive but it also has a negative environmental impact due to higher toner cartridge use (capacity on smaller printers is much less) and even more energy consumption. It is possible to purchase software for more complex environments which can enforce or encourage the best match of device to output need.
6. Use Device Authentication Tools to Limit Access
Ensuring that a device is used as needed but not for unnecessary printing is an important part of controlling its impact. For colour devices this is even more important as there is more cost and impact from a colour device than monochrome.
Using authentication codes to control the access and type of printing that can be done by the user is one of the ways to accomplish a reduction in unnecessary use. The are ways to integrate some devices with access control technology used for security as a convenient way to manage authentication. In a future article I will delve into this in more depth.
These 6 tools are not the only way to reduce your environmental impact but most are easy to use and implement and they can help you become a better steward with your printing activity. Generally it is all about reducing the unneeded output while still have the ability to print the important material required.
What steps have you taken in your office to reduce your environmental impact?