Part of the appeal of becoming an entrepreneur is the potential to make an impact on the community. However, earlier generations of business leaders did not necessarily see themselves as drivers of the greater good. The concept of corporate social responsibility grew out of a desire to compel large companies to do right by the environment as well as the bottom line.
Now, a new generation of entrepreneurs sees environmental protection as essential to how they do business. The evolution of business leadership means that saving the earth is both an accepted role as well a necessity to profit-driven companies.
Document imaging has long been a source of waste. From the energy it takes to run copiers to the toxic inks used to print text, the environment has taken on the burden of so much paperwork. Fortunately, there are many actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and save on expenses at the same time.
1. Print Double-Sided
One easy way to cut your paper usage in half: print double-sided. This obviously reduces the amount of pages you need to buy, but this is only a single aspect of the environmental benefit. By running fewer pages through the printer or copier, you use lessusing paper in a workplace are 13 to 31 times the price of buying the paper. In the U.S., the average office worker uses an astounding 10,000 sheets of paper each year.
To switch to double-sided printing, change the default settings on your office computers. You can also preset your copiers to duplicate on both sides for manual copying jobs. energy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the financial costs of
2. Fax Electronically
Few offices still use fax machines, but the need to transmit documents electronically never went away. For this reason, some businesses still keep their contact materials and maintain a separate fax line. Electronic faxing, however, is more efficient for you and your customers. When you use a multifunction copier, you can route incoming faxes to a designated email account or folder on your main server. You save on paper, energy and ink by eliminating automatic printing of incoming faxes.
Services like eGoldFax and ICE make use of cloud technology to automate and fully digitize fax services. That makes a dent in the environmental impact of the extraordinary number of faxes sent each year - which is more than 16 billion according to research conducted by RingCentral.
3. Recycle Toner Cartridges
In many ways, society is accustomed to disposable items. The sheer number of paper coffee cups that end up in curbside trash containers demonstrates that not everyone makes environmentally responsible decisions. And, when it comes to inkjet toner cartridges, it is hard to overstate the environmental devastation that comes from throwing them in the garbage. A laser cartridge takes 450 years to decompose in a landfill, with some components sticking around for a millenium.
You can ease this burden on the planet by using only recycled cartridges and recycling your own cartridges once they are empty. Finding a waste management outlet for this task is relatively simple, since many suppliers already have a program in place. In some municipalities, these items may even be banned from the garbage.
4. Centralize Printers
The traditional workstation has its own printer, but those individualized machines are highly inefficient users of toner. You can reduce your energy use and your toner spend through an investment in a centralized multifunction copier. These machines put all document management functions in one place: copying, printing, scanning and faxing. Since all documents are printed in one place, you can identify inefficiencies in your paper usage without having to scrutinize the working habits of each individual employee.
5. Control Print Jobs
Once you have a centralized copier in place, you can make it easier for staff members to print the right documents every time. A card reader system puts all requested jobs into a queue. At the machine, each employee has to swipe a card or enter a code to start printing. That way, there is less risk of lost paper due to printed documents accidentally swiped from the copier by the wrong person or duplicate jobs. By scanning the queue, employees can delete a job they no longer need or that was sent to the printer in error.
6. Educate Staff Members
Ideas are great, but putting them into practice may be a challenge. Even if your employees share your commitment to sustainability, implementing a new program necessarily means changes to working habits. Distribute a list of actionable ways they can reduce their environmental impact.
If it seems your team still struggles to make the connection between choices at work and saving the planet, enlist some help. Office1 has tools to show how double-sided printing actually saves trees. PaperCut offers a self-check for employees right on their screens, through popups that let them know how using less paper would have reduced their carbon footprint.
Today's business leaders know their initiatives must do more than just produce a healthy bottom line. They must also demonstrate stewardship to the earth and kindness to local communities. With tools in place to reduce carbon footprints in the office, it is easier than ever for entrepreneurs to meet their moral obligations to society.