Establishing sustainable business practices continues to be a focus across all industries, including architecture, engineering and construction (AEC), manufacturing and retail, among others. This commitment to environmentally responsible practices can greatly impact which companies a business chooses to work with and the equipment used. As a result, many reprographers are initiating business strategies that not only decrease their own environmental footprint but also support the like-minded goals of their customers.
Below, Océ, outlines some of the key tactics that leading reprographers in the United States use to promote sustainability and aid the pursuit of environmentally responsible business practices by their customers.
Selecting Energy Efficient Equipment
Reprographers striving to embed sustainability into their daily operations are embracing printing equipment that supports responsible paper use, low-emissions, and energy conservation while still producing the highest quality prints. ENERGY STAR®-rated printers boost energy efficiency, and converting to equipment that uses solid toner or cartridge-free technology helps eliminate the amount of waste that traditionally ends up in landfills.
By upgrading to more efficient wide format printers and scanners, reprographers are able to complete print jobs faster, reducing the amount of time the machines need to run at full speed and minimizing the need for after hours print runs.
In addition to how the printing equipment operates during a print job, there are other factors that contribute to the sustainability aspect of equipment. Often, products are manufactured with consideration for waste prevention and are designed for re-use and recyclability to gain maximum utilization and minimize landfill use. Utilizing equipment with an upgradeable design makes it easier to add new modules to existing equipment, thus preventing equipment from prematurely entering the “waste stream”.
Using Recycled Paper
For reprographers, determining how to conserve, recycle and process paper more responsibly is a natural component of sustainable business practices. Consequently, many are now providing and encouraging products designed to promote sustainability for both customers and their own operations.
While the cost of using recycled paper may be slightly higher than using non-recycled media, many customers are less concerned about the associated costs than they are with the environmental payback. And, because the look and feel of today’s recycled paper is virtually indistinguishable from virgin bond, reprographers can ensure they are supplying high quality documents.
Another option reprographers can offer to customers is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified paper. Both FSC and SFI certifications help ensure that the paper was derived from trees from responsibly managed and sustainable forests.
Taking a More Digital Approach
Recognizing that minimizing the use of paper is a clear way to support sustainability goals, many reprographers are offering digital alternatives for submitting and managing print jobs. Allowing clients to place, print, plan and bid for jobs online enables reprographers’ clients to print only when absolutely necessary, which can dramatically reduce paper output and unnecessary waste.
Reprographers can also send a client’s job electronically to the print shop closest to the final destination – reducing the need for shipping. Additionally, reprographers can take a more digital approach to their internal processes by converting training and sales meetings to a virtual environment.
Making Sustainable Choices
There are also a number of other steps reprographers can take to improve their own sustainability efforts. This includes replacing fluorescent bulbs with LED lighting, upgrading thermostat controllers to minimize energy use, replacing plastic product bags with biodegradable wrapping, and implementing recycling programs for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles.
Reprographers can also continue their sustainability efforts outside of their facilities by reducing the environmental impact of their travel. Some reprographers are switching their fleets to hybrid vehicles as well as establishing programs to incentivize employees to use more sustainable transportation methods when commuting to work such as carpooling, taking public transit and walking or biking.
Green Business is Good Business
Sustainability continues to become an increasing integral part of company cultures and operations. Reprographers that understand the mindset and sustainability goals of their customers are in a position to grow their own businesses while also promoting sustainable business practices. To support these initiatives and position themselves to serve the ever-growing group of companies that are making sustainability a part of their businesses, reprographers should work with manufacturers that offer wide format printing solutions and media that encourage and enable sustainable business practices.