Are we printing more or less? With digitally savvy staff and a growing work-from-home trend everyone may not have access to printers. Yet, approximately 83% of US workers still go to an office and 65% of people print daily - even millennials. Starting or refreshing a printer usage policy helps maintain an office supplies budget. As well as encourages staff to be more sustainable. Here are three key points to consider when constructing your printing policy.
1. Encourage staff to save paper
Place catchy slogans or fun facts about saving paper in common areas. Such as near the copier, printer, supplies closet or entrances and exits. If you have television monitors, you can incorporate slogans or fun facts on screens also. If possible, consider adding tracking of print jobs that come from specific computers. A fun way to keep people engaged and print less may be to hold an ongoing contest of who prints the least. Then give a monthly or quarterly reward to the “minimum printing champion”.
Examples of Fun Facts:
- Recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees
- The average American uses 650 lbs of paper a year
- 4.5 million tons of office paper is thrown away each year in the US
- The amount of office and writing paper wasted yearly could build a 12-foot high wall from Los Angeles to New York City
Source: Waste Management
2. Actively Collect Paper For Reuse
Place a clearly labeled bin next to shipping and receiving areas, copiers, printers and break rooms to collect unused or unwanted paper. This may encourage the reuse of paper instead of throwing it away immediately. When reusing paper we may continue to print the same amount but with less. A few ways to reuse collected paper is note taking or reprinting on the blank side. Additionally, collect paper stuffer from packages received to reuse when mailing packages out. Shred unused paper to put as filler in packages, gift baskets or bags and more. When unused paper bins are overflowing, consider contacting a nearby school or church who may need extra paper for arts and crafts. Or visit the Waste Management facility locator, select ‘drop off recycling’ and enter an address to find a location to give unwanted paper.
3. Share Methods to Print Less
Printing for a presentation or staff meeting may be unavoidable at times. When printing occurs remind staff to print double sided or scaled to fit on one page. There are several paper saving features in Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint. Such as the fit-to-page feature which re-scales output to print evenly on several pages. Additionally, encourage printing handouts of presentation slides versus individual slide pages. Here are step-by-step instructions to print handouts from Power Point or manually re-scale in Microsoft Excel.
Whether starting or refreshing printing policy and procedures, making it a team effort will be beneficial. Explore with Human Resources or Office Management teams to collaborate and create or refresh a printing policy. Then creatively communicate with staff on a consistent basis in a fun and engaging way.
You can start making a difference in your office supplies budget and environmentally friendly efforts with a printing policy. If you're interested in taking extra initiatives towards being a green office, check your regularly ordered supplies and compare it with available green items. Learn more about green products and initiatives.
Or view more than 3,600 recycled products and over 1,000 environmentally friendly supplies here.
Do you have tips to share about an effective printing policy at your workplace? Please comment below.