Tips for an Environmentally Friendly Office

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Environmentally Friendly Photocopier Tips and Creating a Greener Energy Efficient OfficeEnergy Star Label

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Green environmentally friendly tips for businesses
Photocopier specific tips regarding energy consumption
Copier paper saving and recycle tips
Office paper specific saving and recycling tips
Multifunctional copier energy efficiency
General energy saving tips for the office
Energy Star and benefits of energy efficient photocopiers
Canon & Toshiba Energy Efficient Photocopiers

What can we do about climate change?

A change of attitudes and behaviour at home and at work is required: recycling more, producing less waste, reducing our carbon emissions, turning down heating and switching off air-conditioning, conserving the environment and rebalancing the ecosystem.

As a supplier of photocopiers, Club Copying recognises its responsibility to promote only energy-efficient products that have been awarded The Energy Star or other recognisable energy-efficiency award. Included below is a ‘green guide’ of sorts, and tips on how best to use and configure the machines we supply for minimal waste of energy and paper. We hope that this article plays a small part in prioritising regard for the environment and that the advice provided may help businesses aiming to be more environmentally-friendly.

Green environmentally friendly tips for businesses

Power and print quota management features are important for saving energy and avoiding waste, and are an easy way to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through unnecessary use of electricity. Energy efficient Energy Star compliant photocopiers provide a significant step towards reducing the environmental impact of office photocopiers. Such machines come standard with an “energy saving” mode to automatically or manually assume a low power state. This feature alone can reduce the energy needed in periods of low activity by over 60%.

Photocopier specific tips regarding energy consumption:

  • Turn off the copier at night and turn the energy save on at lunchtime or between periods of extended use. - Like an engine, a photocopier uses more energy powering on or heating up. Work out the most power-efficient schedule for your photocopier. If it doesn’t get used for a period of time during the day, say a lunch-hour, then switch it off. Any less than an hour then use energy-save mode to put the copier into a low-power state. Of course, switch off at the end of the day.
  • Take advantage of the latest energy-centric features on the latest digital copiers that allow you to program times and days of use. The machine can essentially be set to ‘wake-up’ at 7am Monday morning, ‘snooze’ between 1pm – 2pm, go to sleep at 5.30pm and over the weekend. This feature would also work in conjunction with ‘Energy-Save’ (Toshiba) during periods of inactivity.
  • Since the very nature of a photocopier is about always-on convenience it is sometimes difficult to use a low-power state effectively to save on energy used. If possible try to allocate preferred times of use thereby taking control of energy consumption.
  • Inbuilt pin access control and print quota management features of the latest photocopiers can provide energy savings and substantially minimise unnecessary waste.
  • Environmentally-friendly photocopiers automatically switch into stand-by mode when not in use so energy can also be saved during the working day, reducing energy bill costs.
  • Invest in a new machine - stand-by power consumption in the latest models by Canon is just 3 watts as opposed to older models that used 690 watts.
  • Use printers with on-demand or Induction Heating (IH) fixing technology e.g. Canon models with this technology reduce power consumption by as much as 78%.

Photocopier paper specific savings:

  • Set the photocopier to print double-sided or duplex copies. Using this function consistently or set to default will halve the amount of paper used.
  • Use editing functions such as 2-in-1 (Toshiba) whereby the copier prints two A4 sheets on one side of paper. This is usually legible for most and it effectively halves the amount of paper used. If used together with duplex functionality then paper use is halved again. Combining the two can reduce what would have been four sheets of paper onto just one.
  • Use document management features on the copier to set quotas for use and to prevent over-use and unnecessary copying. These features are also used to prevent colour copying where applicable.
  • Use multifunction features of your copier such as ‘send to email’ or ‘send to file’ (where a document can be further edited before emailing). Or use MFP fax functionality where a hard copy is necessary on the receiving end, such as an invoice or order.
  • When sending a hard copy fax, if possible, keep it direct and without using a cover sheet.
  • Reduce waste by 10 to 15 percent from unclaimed print jobs by using in-built security features that only allow printing when the security pin is entered at the photocopier.
  • When making draft copies with the photocopier or printer, use the reverse side of any suitable scrap paper.
  • By taking advantage of the scanning functionality of a networked photocopier users can send documents to themselves and make changes to a draft on their computer rather than on a printed copy.

Paper specific savings and recycle tips:

The UK has taken some encouraging steps in the last few years in terms of recycling, however it is still not nearly in the same league as greener countries such as Germany or Switzerland. Furthermore, most of our recycling is done at home where we have been allocated individual means for avoiding the convenience of landfill. Companies generally need to take independent measures to ensure paper recycling boxes are a feature in the office as well. The local council is a good starting point for finding out information on how to achieve this.

  • Save paper by sending emails. The majority of us now enjoy the convenience and practicality of email over regular mail. Online documents are easily retrieved and re-distributed, searchable and editable.
  • Recycle all paper that does not hold sensitive information. If there are no recycle amenities available in your business currently look to incorporate other recycling opportunities…
  • Keep a box for scrap paper handy that can be taken home for children of staff. The blank side of any scrap paper can also be used for draft notes, shopping lists, reminder logs, game scoring and ‘to-do’ lists.
  • Sensitive documents are often shredded for security purposes. However, even shredded paper is recyclable and can also be used for compost or donated to pet stores and animal shelters where it is used as bedding. This helps keep them clean, reduces their operational costs, animals are more comfortable, and the bedding can be easily recycled as compost later on.

Adhesive Label Sheets:

  • Adhesive label sheets often have a lot of wasted space - the edges, top and bottom of each sheet normally go unused. These areas can be trimmed and stored for later use such as file-labelling. Or instead, keep snippets in a jar and use as an alternative to text-correction fluid.

General Energy Saving tips for the Office:

  • Turn off computer equipment such as external drives, printers and scanners when not in use – turn them on only for the duration that they are needed.
  • Remember that appliances left on “stand-by” still use a lot of energy so physically switch them off if necessary.
  • Sleep or hibernate computers during the day when not in use (lunch breaks, meetings) and turn all equipment off before leaving at the end of the day.

These are simple suggestions yet they will save money and resources which of course is in the best interest of any office and the environment.

Energy efficiency benefits of using an all-in-one multifunctional copier machine

A multifunctional office copier with Energy Star compliance is, in itself, a massive saving of energy and reduction of environmental impact, when the alternative is multiple printing and fax devices. If used correctly a multifunctional device will save on the amount of photocopies and prints that are done and often cost less when compared to running several devices separately.

  • One machine is using power when needed instead of a copier, a scanner, a fax machine and up to ten separate printers.
  • Only one machine has needed to be built, packaged, delivered and eventually recycled.

Energy Star and other Energy Efficiency Standards - benefits of energy efficient copiers

Energy-efficient design and power management is ever important in today’s office equipment for saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. To help resellers and consumers identify office products that have been successfully designed to have less of an overall environmental impact, are various dedicated and unaffiliated labelling bodies such as Energy Star and RoHS.
 
The effectiveness of energy saving programmes such as Energy Star is remarkable. In America, 2007, the amount of energy saved was enough to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 27 million cars, while saving around £8 billion on utility bills.
 
The Energy Star is a voluntary labelling programme by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy for products which achieve a defined level of energy efficiency. This partnership has helped protect the environment by qualifying products and assessing their operation for energy efficiency, with money saved by consumers along the way, due to less power consumption. Office Equipment that has earned the Energy Star helps save energy through special energy-efficient designs which allow them to use less energy to perform regular tasks, and automatically enter a low-power mode when not in use. Only machines that meet the criteria are permitted to wear the Energy Star label.
 
The RoHS is a new (July 2006) European Directive with an interest in “the Restriction Of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment” that may be released into the environment. This Directive concerns itself with the banning of new electrical and electronic equipment on the EU market that contain more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.
 
The WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, effective since August 13th 2005, is another compliance programme formed in the UK that sets standards of waste and recycling with obligations set for manufacturers and retailers of EEE products. Effectively it is now the responsibility of the manufacturer or dealer to finance the collection, treatment, recovery and disposal of the EEE supplied to the end-user business - customers can return their WEEE free of charge.

Aside from these compliance directives there are useful tips such as in the guide above that can be implemented in the office, however small or large, to reduce power consumption and paper waste for a greener office and a smaller carbon footprint.
 
Compliance, however, is only the beginning. Canon, for instance, recognises its pioneer status in the industry and, with its annual Canon Sustainability Report, continually regulates and improves its energy and water use and CO2 emissions.

Further sources

Please visit the Southwark Friends of The Earth website if you would like to help with environmental issues in the South London area in any way. They are always looking for volunteers and will appreciate any support you can offer.

Club Copying provides a range of Canon and Toshiba Energy Efficient Photocopiers with details and information on their WEEE, RoHS and Energy Star compliancy, along with the manufacturers' long-term environmental policies.