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If you’re committed to making your business green, then office equipment is the first place you should start. Purchasing an energy efficient printer can save you time, money, and improve production. Laser printers are more economical in the long run since the price per print can be less than $0.03, but they use up a lot of energy and need to be placed in a well ventilated room since they produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or chemicals that can exacerbate asthma and cause chemical sensitivities.
Inkjet printers also emit VOCs–albeit less so–and since paper printed by inkjet printers isn’t easily recycled, they are not ideal for companies that print more than a couple hundred pieces of paper a month. Although not everyone agrees, inkjets are better suited for companies with only a few employees located in a small space. If print speed is an issue, keep in mind that several new printers now print with a quality and speed comparable to laser printers. Here are seven features your printer should have if you want to reduce your carbon footprint.
Energy Star Qualified — Printers that are branded as Energy Star by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are 40% more energy efficient and feature efficient designs that help equipment run cooler and last longer, which helps to reduce utility bills. If all businesses replaced their stock of imaging equipment with ENERGY STAR units, Americans would save about 5 billion kWh/yr, which translates into a savings of $3.60 per 100 square feet of U.S. office floor space.
All-in-one–Office equipment that can fax, scan, copy, and print will reduce the energy costs of maintaining a separate piece of equipment for each of those tasks. Most all-in-one inkjets use less energy than one black and white laser printer.
Duplexing — The ability to duplex or produce double-sided prints can reduce your paper use by 50%, which will save money and trees. Printers that have auto duplexing features will also save you time.
Water-based inks — Most inks do not dissolve during the paper recycling process. Attempt to find an inkjet printer that uses mild, eco-solvent, vegetable-based or water-based inks. Paper printed with such inks may be easier to recycle and may emit fewer VOCs.
Individual ink tanks — Replacing ink tanks can be costly. Purchase color printers with a separate ink cartridge for cyan, yellow, magenta, and black. This way you only need to replace the color that is empty as opposed to replacing a more expensive cartridge that contains all of the colors when only one color is low.
Wireless printing — Printers with wireless capability will allow multiple users to connect to one printer, which will prevent the clutter of USB wires and reduce the need to run several printers simultaneously.
Less/recyclable packaging — Printers that are packed and shipped with less packaging or packaging that is recyclable will eliminates waste and reduce your carbon footprint.
Check back here at the Green Insider for more eco-friendly resources for businesses and individuals.