Last month, we looked at how to make your IT ‘more green’ and covered how to prepare spreadsheets for printing. As more offices go paperless, we thought it’d be a good idea to look at how those that can’t quite make that jump can optimise printing.

green printing

Printing on both sides

One of the more obvious green print measures that will reduce your use of paper, is printing double-sided. Many already do this, but there are plenty that don’t, and it will reduce the amount of paper required to print multi-page documents by as much as half.

To do this, you will need a printer capable of double-sided printing – otherwise the printing task becomes a lot more time consuming. As such, we recommend making double-sided printing part of your requirement when making any future printer purchase.

Setting up double-sided printing is easy. First, click File and then scroll down to print on the left hand menu. Below the ‘Settings’ heading and underneath ‘Pages:’ you will see a drop down box which will likely say “Print one-sided” as this is usually the default setting. Click the drop down and select ‘Print on Both Sides’ and you’re good to go.

Ink consumption will be the same whether printing single or double-sided, but reducing paper consumption will save you money and save some trees! It’s a win-win.

Using recycled paper

Speaking of saving trees, do you print on recycled paper? Evaluating where your paper is sourced from can result in a positive change to improving your business’s carbon footprint.

Conveniently, 100% recycled paper is also cheaper – it can cost as much as 50% less. Using recycled stock also sends a great message about your business and how environmentally friendly you are.

Recycle used paper

Recycling your used paper is one of the most obvious things you can do, but whether it’s shredded for containing confidential information or a crumpled up spider diagram, get it in the recycling.

Having a clear out of the paper on your desk? Recycle it. Scrap paper that’s covered in print on one side and scribble on the other? Recycle it.

Think before you print

“Do I need to print this?” it’s a question we don’t ask ourselves often enough. Hitting the print button can almost be a reflex action when you finish writing a document or receive an important email that needs to be actioned.

OneNote can come in handy here. Rather than printing off emails and files you need to action and creating a paper to-do pile on your desk, you can create a digital to-do pile on your desktop in OneNote.

But the paperless office has only become possible because of the developments in electronic forms and documents. Here are a couple of alternative digital solutions to common business printing needs:

• E-Invoicing – Invoices are one of the most commonly printed documents for a business – but most of them are processed digitally anyway. So why print? You can use SharePoint Online (part of the Office 365 service) to store and share your invoices, and ‘Mark Up’ tools are available on many devices and messenger apps to make it easy to sign things digitally. Ultimately, this means you can create, send, sign process, and store invoices without any printing whatsoever.

• PDF-ing – ever used that print to PDF button? It’s a lot more useful than you might first think. Instead of your physical filing system, switch to a digital one – print your records as a PDF and file them away in a SharePoint library or finance folder on the server. If you’re worried about losing these files and folders, it sounds like you don’t yet have an effective backup and disaster recovery policy in place.

Shrink before you print

Being economical with spacings and font sizes – within reason – can make a big improvement to your paper and ink consumption, and get you closer to a green print policy. The more white space on a document, the more paper you use and the bigger the font the more ink and paper you’re using.

If you’re printing a document for your own use or review, the white space and larger fonts you might select for presentation purposes can be minimised.

Spreadsheets can be tricky to print, and if you’d like to know how to get a good print out of your Excel spreadsheets check out our Excel Quick Tips piece where you’ll also find other helpful advice on getting more out of Excel.

Ink cartridges should be recycled

Ink cartridges are made up of several components, predominantly plastics, which don’t do the planet any favours. Furthermore, ink cartridges can also leak which is considered a pollutant.

Thankfully, up to 97 percent of the material within an ink cartridge can be recycled. Not only that but used cartridges have value, meaning you can sell them to a recycler or donate them to a charity through The Recycling Factory who will recycle them and pass on some of the revenue to a cause of your choice.

Managed Print Services

Our managed print services can help get you reduce your environmental footprint and give advice on the printers you choose to buy, as well as installing and configuring them on your network so multiple users can have access.

Microsoft Office 365 and cloud technologies offer many opportunities to reduce or eliminate various day-to-day print requirements. We can advise on the best applications for your needs and how to get the most out of them.

We can help give you greater control over your printing, provide regular maintenance and take care of your supply procurement, all at a competitive, predictable price. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more.