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28 November 2023

Simple steps to a green workplace and savings

By Dan Smith

Green is the buzzword today in business cycles. But the big question is how does one incorporate a 'green environment' in an enterprise. There are a few and simple steps to be carried out and listed below, hoping enterprises would pick up some tips.

Use electronic tools

- Software to simplify the way you use documents and cost-free online tools to simplify the way you communicate.

- Cut back the time and energy spent on manual paper-based processes with workflow management software and collaboration tools. Scan-enabled multifunction printers can eliminate the costs of producing, storing and shipping paper documents.

- Send and receive information electronically with simple-to-use eCommerce and cost-free Account Management eTools that help manage your equipment and contracts, submit meter reads and purchase orders online, pay invoices online and more.

Use paper wisely

- Print on both sides of the page – also called duplexing.

- Print multiple images per page and print only the quantity you need at the time you need it.

- Be selective about what you print.

- Train yourself to go digital – read, send and store digital documents.

- Reach for the right paper. Print on paper certified to sustainable forestry standards or use paper with recycled content (FSC, PEFC or SFI).

- Use environmentally preferable paper such as High Yield Business Paper that uses half the number of trees of conventional paper and made through a 'greener' process than standard paper used with digital printers. For example, High Yield Business Paper uses 90 per cent of the tree versus only 45 per cent being used to create traditional digital printing paper. It requires less water and chemicals and is produced in a plant using hydroelectricity to partially power the pulping process. This reduces fossil fuel use and results in up to a 75 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycle the paper you use

Install bins around the office to collect paper for recycling or reuse. Paper manufacturers avoid the use of 3.5 tonnes of virgin fibre for every tonne of recycled material used. It is estimated that waste typically costs companies 4.5 per cent of their expenditures. Recycling is an easy cost-saving initiative that can involve all employees. It makes good business sense to implement a basic programme as soon as possible. The plan below outlines tips for setting up and monitoring successful recycling systems and promotes long-term success. Before starting a programme, it is useful to complete a waste audit to identify what, where and how much waste is generated by your company. The audit should:

- Identify all points at which waste is generated.

- Identify the origin of each type of waste.

- Identify the quantity, type and its environmental effects.

- Establish the costs of current disposal methods.

- Look at opportunities to reduce, recycle or reuse the waste.

- Set targets for reducing waste.

Replace copiers or printers with MFPs

One multifunction printer that copies, prints, scans and faxes can use half the energy of all those separate devices.

Don't throw away empty toner cartridges

Return your cartridges for reuse and recycling. Or consider a cartridge-free solid ink printer or MFP, which generates about 90 per cent less waste than a comparable colour laser printer. Solid ink is a proven colour printing technology. A solid ink printer or MFP uses solid sticks of no-mess, non-toxic ink instead of toner or inkjet cartridges.

- Non-toxic ink is resin-based, similar to a crayon, so the sticks are safe to handle.

- No-mess ink won't stain your clothes or your skin.

- Load up to five sticks at a time of each colour in a solid ink device for long, uninterrupted printing.

- Stringent manufacturing of the ink ensures colours will be consistent – 100 per cent of all ink is inspected.

Office equipment for remanufacturing

Go for devices that are designed with recycling and reuse in mind – products that contain reused parts while meeting new product specifications for quality and performance. This practice of managing products at end of life translates into significant environmental and financial benefits. Remanufacture and the reuse and recycling of parts prevent millions of kilograms of waste from entering landfills each year – 49,000 metric tonnes in 2007 alone. The annual trend in reduction in waste diverted from landfills since 2003 is due in part to changes in product mix, design of lighter weight machines and the growth of regulatory-driven local recycling schemes.

The author is the General Manager for Integrated Marketing, Xerox MEA. The views expressed are his own


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