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The Datamax Thinking Blog

Educating, collaborating, and sparking ideas for maximizing the technology that matters.

Greener Printing, Greener Bottom Line, Greener Practice


Green isn’t just environmentally friendly. It’s also friendly to your firm’s budget.

“It’s not easy being green.” – Kermit the Frog

Despite Kermit’s lament, it’s a lot easier to “be green” than you may expect – especially with your printers, copiers, and other office equipment. While copiers and printers can contribute to the digital and physical landfills, when it comes to industries that make lots of copies (like the legal industry), they can also be key components within a company-wide green initiative.

Many companies are also investing in corporate environmental sustainability programs. You may be interested in the Law Firm Sustainability Network, which promotes best practices, knowledge-sharing, key performance indicators and more within the legal industry.

It’s good to be nice to the environment and look to sustainability efforts for corporate responsibility. Here are a few tips to get you started on the path to a greener business.

Green: Not Just Good for Mother Nature

Many people probably roll their eyes and may think, “This is business, why should we worry about hugging trees” when it comes to the idea of being environmentally conscious in the world of business. But, when you mention the fact that going green (from an environmental standpoint) will not only be a good reflection on your brand, it will also add some “green” to your bottom line – most people perk up and become a little more interested. Understandably of course – this still is business after all.

Even if you're not interested in the positive environmental impacts, most of these tips will help you save money and/or become more productive too. Whether you're interested in the environment, dollars and cents, or both – keep reading.

Green Printing

Let’s start off with printing and going green. When you do print, consider the following:

  • Print double-sided.
  • Recycle your paper, buy 100% recycled paper, and make electronic files available in order to help reduce consumption of trees.
  • Only print the pages you need – for instance, if you print an email (though you probably don’t REALLY need to print an email), be sure not to print an entire extra page that only has half of a signature on it.
  • Don’t click the “print” button over and over because the “job submitted” message doesn’t pop up as quickly as you’d like.
  • Finally, do you absolutely need to print? If you can read it just as easily on your PC monitor/laptop screen/tablet/smartphone – don’t press “print.”

Printer and Copier Recycling

Of course, you should recycle your paper. But did you realize you should also recycle your equipment itself as well as your toner cartridges?

Regarding your copiers and multifunctional printers, with a lease or rental agreement, we will pick up the equipment (and hopefully we'll be replacing that equipment with new as we continue our relationship!). If you own the equipment itself, we encourage you to have it removed to a recycling center that can break down complicated digital equipment, like computers and your copier, into component parts rather than dumping the entire device into a landfill.

On a related note, you will ALWAYS want to be sure that the copier's hard drive is wiped or digitally shredded as a matter of course for security and privacy issues before sending away for recycling (the hard drive on your copier is identical to the hard drive on a laptop or PC). (Click here to read about this potential security hole, Why Digital Copiers Are a Security Time Bomb.)

Also, recycling toner cartridges rather than throwing them away can add up to less waste in the landfill.

Corporate Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability

  • Ask questions. If you own or run a business, make sure you know about your products that are required to conduct the business. Are the materials non-toxic? Are they domestically made? Is the supplier environmentally responsible? How long will this product last – can it be recycled?
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. Create reuse initiatives for employees and comprehensive recycling programs that are simple and convenient. Look to for electricity alternatives such as wind farms or solar to reduce gas emissions.
  • Occupancy sensors. This eliminates relying on every single person to turn off the light when they leave a room, which creates lighting efficiency – plus, it is a low-mercury system.
  • The office space itself. Use low VOC (volatile organic compound) materials when constructing and decorating the office such as coating, paint, furniture and seating (if it’s already constructed, focus on the furniture you choose for the space).

Odds and Ends

A few other thoughts on stretching out your green touch:

  • Turn off the lights – be sure that you turn off the lights when you leave a room and be sure to turn on automatic timers if you have them. Try to use task lighting and as much natural light as possible.
  • Be sure to use EnergyStar equipment.
  • Save energy on the weekend with your office equipment. Companies are expending 66% of energy on nights and weekends because IT equipment is not getting turned down to the lowest possible level. So put your printers and copiers to sleep when you aren’t using them and unplug your chargers.
  • Use the unprinted side of documents as scratch paper or to make your to-do list for the day – or just to doodle (some of the great leaders and thinkers of the world were avid doodlers).

I hope you’ll take these tips and help both the environment and your wallet. 

We’re serious about the potential of green initiatives. Click here to read about the Datamax Greenback Proposition.

 Ready to discuss underlying issues affecting productivity  and office equipment performance? Let's Talk! ›

Topics: DatamaxGreen