Earth Day Green Printing Tips

Happy Earth Day 2017!

We know that this is the time of year that a lot of companies begin thinking about ways they can reduce their environmental footprint. Some are installing solar panels, geothermal in-floor radiant heated floors and even low flush toilets. While those efforts are great, they can also be quite expensive. The good news, however, is that you don’t need to spend big to go green. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do right now to optimize your current office equipment, like following a few green printing best practices. Since it’s Earth Day, we figured it would be a good time to share a few of our favorite green printing tips with you. Not only will these best practices make your office more environmentally friendly, but some will even save you money!


We’ll start with paper since it’s usually one of the first things that people think about when considering the environmental impact of printing. When you print, you’re going to use paper; that’s something that won’t change anytime soon. However, there are still some steps you can take to alleviate the impact your paper usage has on the environment. One of the easiest ways to do this is to switch to recycled or sustainably sourced paper. For example, Metro Sales uses paper sourced from sustainably managed eucalyptus forests. For every tree cut down to make our printing paper, another is planted in its place.

Duplex printing (double-sided printing) is another great way to reduce your paper usage. If you’re in a small office, this can be as easy as educating your staff on duplex printing and how to enable it. In a larger organization, you can actually set up duplex printing as the default for all of your employees. Doing so will cut down on paper usage and thereby reduce your printing costs.


Another common concern with printing is toner usage; what becomes of the toner cartridges when you’re finished with them? Recycling your used toner cartridges is an excellent way to go green without disrupting your office’s workflow. The easiest way to do this is to work with a print vendor that provides a toner recycling program. In some cases, your vendor may even pick up your cartridges directly from your office.

Printing Procedures

Have you ever walked by your office’s printer and noticed a document just sitting in the output tray? How many times have you circled back at the end of the day and watched as that document was thrown away or recycled? Not only is this environmentally wasteful, but it’s also costly and just plain annoying for the person in-charge of ensuring these orphaned print jobs get removed.

Luckily, there are a few green printing solutions to this problem. First, you can simply turn those leftover documents into scrap paper. This works especially well if these print jobs are one-sided. In fact, you can even have a document services provider bind your scrap paper into scratch notepads for your staff to use.

Another option is to install follow-me printing. Follow-me printing works by holding your print jobs at a device until you’ve arrived at the printer. To retrieve your job, you either enter an authorization code or swipe a keycard. So what’s the benefit? In order for their document to print, an employee has to actually be present at the device, meaning there is less chance of a job getting forgotten in the output tray. Additionally, by enabling users to cancel print jobs at the point of print, follow-me printing eliminates accidental duplicate prints. Follow-me printing also has the added benefit of allowing employees to retrieve their documents from any device connected to the same network. Thus, you can print from your upstairs office and pick up your documents from the printer in the meeting room downstairs.

Energy Use

What happens to your printer when you leave the office for the night or weekend? In many offices, printers and copiers are left on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Not only is this environmentally harmful, but it’s also costing your company money if you’re paying for energy consumption. The solution to this problem is to use your device’s timer setting to automatically shut off your device or send it into a deep sleep mode when your office is empty. Most people know that try can have their printer go to sleep after a specified span of inactivity. However, on advanced devices, like a Ricoh MFP, you can actually go a step further. These devices allow you to configure your device to automatically shut off or go into a deep sleep mode on the weekends and at night. This is achieved by using both device timer settings and ambient light sensors. By setting these features up, you’ll be able to cut down on energy usage and your electric bill.


Here’s a summary of our seven green printing tips:

  1. Use sustainably sourced or recycled paper.
  2. Enable duplex printing
  3. Recycle used toner cartridges.
  4. Turn unwanted print jobs into scrap paper
  5. Install follow-me printing to avoid forgotten print jobs.
  6. Use timer settings to turn your printer off when not in use.
  7. Make sure your next device is Energy Star certified.

Ready to put some of these tips into practice? Our office technology experts are here to help. We can help you set up these features, find an Energy Star printer/copier or answer any questions that you may have about green printing. Contact us at 612-861-4000 or via our online form.

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