In Office Depots 2012 Small Index Study, they found that 60% of small businesses want to green their ink and toner cartridges. Not only are printer and toner cartridges expensive for businesses, they have a high environmental cost. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 350 million printer cartridges are thrown away each year, and each one takes over 450 years to decompose. That’s a lot of cartridges filling up our landfills.
There are several ways to green up your printer usage.
- Recycle Used Cartridges: Recycling used printer cartridges is a popular way to save money and help save the environment. Many office supply stores will take back used cartridges and give you a store credit in return. Office Max and Staples both offer a $2 credit for each cartridge, which also saves you money on office supplies if you purchase from these businesses. There are also numerous toner cartridge recycling businesses popping up nationwide. In addition to the environmental benefits, recycled cartridges often cost half of what new cartridges do, offering savings to business owners.
- Use Soy Ink: Another option is to switch to soy ink, instead of the more common ink products, which are petroleum-based. Soy ink has several benefits. It is made from soy oil, which comes from a renewable resource, while petroleum products are not. Soy ink is more biodegradable, degrading four times faster than regular ink. Also, less soy ink is required for the same amount of printing, leading to few cartridges made and fewer cartridges thrown away.
- Consolidate Printing: A final option is printer consolidation. Consider removing desktop printers and fewer networked printers. This leads to less printing by your staff and fewer cartridges that need to be purchased. Educating your employees on the costs of managing paper is also beneficial for a company attempting to go green in the printing department.