Are Your Multifunction Devices On An Eco-Friendly Diet?

Get The Skinny On Recycled Consumption

Print management solutions, like the software we’ve talked about in previous posts, make it much easier to print with respect for the environment and our precious natural resources. But implementing managed print services is only part of the story — there are other actions you can take to please Mother Nature with your printing.

GET REAL ABOUT RECYCLING

Recycle going in and recycle going out.

Recycling the excess, unwanted paper coming out of your multifunction devices is only half the job, maybe even less than half. You should also be using recycled paper to feed your printers and copiers. You should understand what it takes to produce a single sheet of paper.

When doing research on how much water it takes to make a sheet of paper, the facts are staggering. The World Counts, is an environmentally conscious organization based in Copenhagen, Denmark, who work tirelessly to bring the latest and most accurate live statistics on the state of the planet. According to the research efforts of Esben Larsen, Karsten Bjerring Olsen, and Victor Emanouilov (who run and update “The World Counts”), mention it takes twice the energy used to produce paper than a plastic bag!

It involves cutting down trees. Deforestation is one of the main environmental problems we’re facing in these times. 42% of all global wood harvest is used to make paper. Is it really worth it to cut down our life saving trees for this product?

Thankfully, Recycled paper production uses less energy and natural resources – such as trees and water, and therefore saves forests, watersheds and ecosystems — and frees up landfill space. The process also produces less pollution, using less water and chemicals than virgin paper production. Finally, recycled paper production concentrates the inks, chemicals and potential hazards for eco-friendly management rather than releasing them via landfilling and incineration.

Not all recycled paper is created equal.

Recycled paper is a broad term with multiple levels and interpretations. First, some definitions:

Post-consumer waste: Paper used by a consumer and then recycled, thus keeping it out of a landfill. (The more post-consumer waste incorporated into recycled material, the better.)

 Pre-consumer waste: Excess materials produced as a byproduct of the printing process.

Recycled paper is broadly defined as a grade of paper containing recycled (post-consumer and/or pre-consumer) fiber, with grades ranging from 10% post-consumer to 100% post-consumer recycled. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed guidelines for federally funded purchases, requiring a minimum of 30% post-consumer content for uncoated printing and writing paper. These standards are generally accepted as national standards, but unfortunately, they’re still voluntary. To get serious about your recycled paper, keep an eye out for high percentages of post-consumer waste.

Facts about Paper and Paper Waste

  • As we speak, more than 199 tons of paper has already been produced.
  • 324 liters of water is used to make 1 kilogram of paper.
  • 10 liters of water is needed to make one piece of A4 paper.
  • 93% of paper comes from trees.
  • 50% of the waste of businesses is composed of paper.
  • To print a Sunday edition of the New York Times requires 75,000 trees!
  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves around 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 liters of water and 17 trees.
  • Packaging makes up 1/3 or more of our trash.
  • U.S offices use 12.1 trillion sheets of paper a year.
  • Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste and 33% of municipal waste.
  • With all the paper we waste each year, we can build a 12 foot high wall of paper from New York to California!
  • Lessening of paper usage was predicted due to the electronic revolution. It didn’t happen. Demand for paper is expected to double before 2030.
  • Every tree produces enough oxygen for 3 people to breathe.

Cut out chlorine.

If you really want to raise the bar on your recycled paper initiative, look for papers that are processed chlorine-free (PCF), which means it was bleached without chlorine or chlorine derivatives. When chlorine is used to bleach, it forms toxic compounds that accumulate and can cause serious health problems for both animals and humans. PCF papers don’t use chlorine to bleach and typically use hydrogen peroxide, oxygen or ozone instead.

Think outside the tree pulp.

Three to six billion trees are cut down each year by the world’s industrial logging industry — more than 40% of these trees are used to make paper. Worldwide, the pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest industrial consumer of energy.

While sustainable forestry and “save the rainforest” initiatives are doing an excellent job of saving our trees, we can do even more to help. There are other fibers, besides pulp from trees, which can be used in paper production. Some alternative fibers include hemp, kenaf and cotton. Agricultural byproducts such as cereal straws and corn stalks, which used to be exclusively discarded as waste stream, are also viable paper-producing materials. So look for recycled papers made from alternative fibers to imbue your office’s document workflow with a unique and eco-friendly approach.

Don’t sweat the cost.

Because demand for recycled paper has increased substantially over the last few years, it’s become much more cost-friendly. Any price difference between recycled paper and virgin paper, made exclusively from tree pulp, is minimal. And if you think ahead and order in larger quantities, you further reduce or even eliminate the price premiums of ordering recycled paper.

Don’t sweat the quality.

The chemical de-inking process has improved phenomenally over the years; so recycled paper has excellent performance and meets the same technical specifications as virgin paper. Plus, many are acid-free, which extends archival longevity. And don’t think you’ll have to settle for dingy paper! You can still get pristine, bright white color from recycled paper — or, choose a more moderate brightness level for a softer effect and aesthetically pleasing light reflection. The natural looking “spec effect” is popular for projects and presentations that allow some creative freedom.

BONUS:

10 Easy Ways to Reduce Paper Waste and Pollution

(according to The World Counts on paper facts)

In North America, many paper companies are now modifying their processes to reduce the formation of dioxins. Dioxin is a toxic by-product of the manufacture of paper and it is a carcinogen. We are now seeking renewable sources of paper so we don’t have to cut down our beautiful life-giving trees.

What can you do from your end to reduce paper pollution and waste?

  1. Recycle all your paper waste.
  2. Be a conscious consumer and buy “100% post-consumer waste recycled”. Buy recycled paper materials or materials that came from sustainable managed forests.
  3. In the office, reuse paper. If you’ve only used one side for example, collect them instead of throwing them away. You can bind these sheets and make a notebook using the other side. This small effort reduces paper waste by 50%
  4. If you already have a scanned copy of a file, don’t print it anymore unless really needed.
  5. Use email instead of paper when communicating with clients and customers.
  6. Reduce the use of paper cups and disposable paper plates by keeping reusable items in the office pantry.
  7. Encourage your officemates and friends to recycle their paper by putting them in recycling bins.
  8. Insist on “Process Chlorine Free” paper materials.
  9. Buy products with the least paper packaging. Encourage businesses that follow environment friendly practices.
  10. Take advantage of the latest technologies like tablets, computers and smart phones to keep your files and notes.

BONUS 2

According to john@connex.digital who has more great information to provide;

In the earlier report, they warned that global solid waste generation was on pace to increase 70 percent by 2025, rising from more than 3.5 million tonnes per day in 2010 to more than 6 million tonnes per day by 2025. The waste from cities alone is already enough to fill a line of trash trucks 5,000 kilometers long every day. The global cost of dealing with all that trash is rising too: from $205 billion a year in 2010 to $375 billion by 2025, with the sharpest cost increases in developing countries.

Feel free to read more about his blog:

We Need To Do More Than Just Recycle. Let’s Start Here

Thanks John!

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