Green Insider: 7 Things to Look For In An Eco-friendly Printer - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

If you’re committed to making your business green, then office equipment is the first place you should start. Purchasing an energy efficient printer can save you time, money, and improve production. Laser printers are more economical in the long run since the price per print can be less than $0.03, but they use up a lot of energy and need to be placed in a well ventilated room since they produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or chemicals that can exacerbate asthma and cause chemical sensitivities.

Inkjet printers also emit VOCs–albeit less so–and since paper printed by inkjet printers isn’t easily recycled, they are not ideal for companies that print more than a couple hundred pieces of paper a month. Although not everyone agrees, inkjets are better suited for companies with only a few employees located in a small space. If print speed is an issue, keep in mind that several new printers now print with a quality and speed comparable to laser printers. Here are seven features your printer should have if you want to reduce your carbon footprint.

Energy Star Qualified — Printers that are branded as Energy Star by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are 40% more energy efficient and feature efficient designs that help equipment run cooler and last longer, which helps to reduce utility bills. If all businesses replaced their stock of imaging equipment with ENERGY STAR units, Americans would save about 5 billion kWh/yr, which translates into a savings of $3.60 per 100 square feet of U.S. office floor space.

All-in-one–Office equipment that can fax, scan, copy, and print will reduce the energy costs of maintaining a separate piece of equipment for each of those tasks. Most all-in-one inkjets use less energy than one black and white laser printer.

Duplexing — The ability to duplex or produce double-sided prints can reduce your paper use by 50%, which will save money and trees. Printers that have auto duplexing features will also save you time.

Water-based inks — Most inks do not dissolve during the paper recycling process. Attempt to find an inkjet printer that uses mild, eco-solvent, vegetable-based or water-based inks. Paper printed with such inks may be easier to recycle and may emit fewer VOCs.

Individual ink tanks — Replacing ink tanks can be costly. Purchase color printers with a separate ink cartridge for cyan, yellow, magenta, and black. This way you only need to replace the color that is empty as opposed to replacing a more expensive cartridge that contains all of the colors when only one color is low.

Wireless printing — Printers with wireless capability will allow multiple users to connect to one printer, which will prevent the clutter of USB wires and reduce the need to run several printers simultaneously.

Less/recyclable packaging — Printers that are packed and shipped with less packaging or packaging that is recyclable will eliminates waste and reduce your carbon footprint.

Check back here at the Green Insider for more eco-friendly resources for businesses and individuals.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.