Most of my discussion last week with Patty Calkins, VP of Environment, Health, and Safety at Xerox, focused on her company’s efforts in the realm of sustainable business… so, not necessarily “ecopreneurial” material. As “document management” is a concern for any business owner, small or large, I made sure to address entrepreneurial issues with her. Specifically, I gave her a scenario: I’m the owner of a green start-up, and want to implement as many sustainable practices as possible while watching costs. How do I balance these priorities in terms of printing, paper use, and the energy costs that come with them?
It turns out (fortuitously … I didn’t know this up front) that Xerox was planning to release a series of tips on this topic this week in anticipation of Earth Day. That information was released today:
- Cut paper use. Make two-sided prints and copies using the “duplex” function, print multiple images per page, and print only the quantity you need at the time you need it. Saving paper also saves energy: Environmental Protection Agency estimates say it takes 10 times more energy to manufacture a piece of paper than to create another print or copy.
- Recycle the paper you use, and use recycled paper. Install bins in several office locations to make it easy to collect paper for recycling or for reuse as notepaper. And commit to purchasing recycled paper – it can meet the same performance specifications as non-recycled paper.
- Reach for the ENERGY STAR® .Upgrade old products with new, more efficient systems and the savings add up. For example, a large bank customer reduced annual energy consumption by 34 percent, or 1.9 million kilowatt hours, using Xerox ENERGY STAR-qualified copiers and multifunction products instead of equivalent non-ENERGY STAR products. At 10 cents per kwh, that translates to savings of nearly $200,000 in annual electricity costs. Nearly all Xerox systems are designed to meet or exceed these energy standards.
- Replace copiers or printers with products that do-it-all. An office copier, two printers and a fax machine can consume 1070 kwh of energy each year. But if one multifunction system can handle your document needs, it uses only 800 kwh annually. Xerox studies show that a Xerox Document Centre multifunction system typically consumes 20 percent to 30 percent less energy per year than the individual ENERGY STAR copier, printer and fax products it replaces – that savings doubles if the products replaced were not ENERGY STAR qualified.
- Don’t throw away empty toner cartridges. Xerox provides customers with prepaid postage to return cartridges for reuse and recycling. Remanufactured cartridges are built and tested to the same performance specifications as new-build products. Or, consider using solid ink printers, which eliminate cartridges altogether and generate about 90 percent less waste during use than a typical color laser printer.
- Seek office equipment designed for remanufacturing or recycling. Despite more than a decade of proof, there are still buyers who mistakenly believe that products with recycled parts are not as good as those built with new parts. Xerox devices are designed with recycling and reuse in mind and involve rebuilding and upgrading returned products and parts to as-new performance and appearance. These recycling and remanufacturing programs have diverted more than two billion pounds of waste from landfills since 2001, and energy savings from parts reuse totaled 500,000 megawatt hours– enough energy to light more than 380,000 U.S. homes for one year.
- Use software to simplify the way you use document. Cut back the time and energy spent on manual paper-based processes with workflow management systems and collaboration tools. In paper-intensive processes like legal discovery or mortgage loan document management, Docushare combined with scan-enabled multifunction devices can help reduce errors and improve version control – and ultimately eliminate the costs of producing, storing and shipping paper documents.
Sure, Xerox is tooting it’s own horn here, but that’s OK… these are smart practices regardless of the brand attached to them.
One last question I had for Patty: there are a number of fantastic books out there on green business thinking and best practices. Which ones would she recommend an ecopreneur have on his/her shelf? She recommended:
Many thanks to Patty for taking the time to talk with me…