Evaluating MPS Environmental Print Credentials

Inevitably, printing services have an impact on the environment. Printing uses a natural material and energy is needed to power presses and other technologies. With over 12,000 printing companies in the UK alone, it is important to understand the environmental print credentials of prospective suppliers and how the industry as a whole can work towards a greener future.

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Every Managed Print Service (MPS) provider has a duty of care towards the world we live in and should continually work on improving their environmental print credentials. Fortunately, paper is a uniquely renewable and sustainable product. The main raw materials, trees, are grown and harvested in a carefully controlled and sustainable way – so successfully that European forests, where 85% of the European Pulp and Paper industry‘s raw material comes from, grew by an area the size of Switzerland between 2005 and 2015.

Unsurprisingly, there are many other materials, technologies and processes involved in managing an organisations print infrastructure. Each should be carefully considered when selecting a managed print service provider to ensure they follow the same environmental principles as your organisation. These can be summarised into two categories: Technology and Practice.

Environmentally Friendly Technology

Unlike mono brand, dual brand or even multi brand suppliers, independent service providers are not tied to any specific partners and have access to all hardware and software technologies available on the market.

Being independent provides organisations with the best case for environmental credentials, simply because the greenest print technologies and solutions can be blended together to deliver an offering with the lowest environmental impact.

There are numerous environmental schemes and accreditations that apply to print technology. Below are a few environmental standards that can be used to evaluate print technology.

  • Energy Star: This label is only used on office equipment and shows that a product has achieved energy efficiency standards set by the EU. Energy Star provides simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions to save money and reduce emissions.
  • Blue Angel: The use of the Blue Angel logo acts as a clear and reliable feature that an organisation uses natural resources in a responsible way and considers environmental and health protection to be a particularly important factor. Blue Angel’s credibility and competence, its objective criteria, its institutionalised award process and its governmental links increase the corporate and brand value of the associated technologies.
  • EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool): All of the criteria used in EPEAT are based on ANSI-approved public standards that provide technical details and specify how manufacturers must demonstrate compliance.
  • ECMA-370 (The Eco Declaration) standard: This Standard specifies environmental attributes and measurement methods for ICT and CE products according to known regulations, standards, guidelines and currently accepted practices.

Environmentally Friendly Practice

The way Managed Print organisations operate has a significant impact on the environment. At the very least, companies should have an up to date environmental policy that outlines their commitment to adopting and maintaining a framework of corporate processes and controls for eco-friendly business practice.

ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditations outline the industries standard for demonstrating quality and environmental management systems and processes. Organisations should have such business practices in place in order to provide assurance to stakeholders, employees and customers that the company’s environmental impact is being measured and continually improved upon.

Recycling is another area of managed print that organisations should have documented procedures in place to effectively manage waste and redundant consumables or technology. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) set collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods. The management of WEEE is applied via the waste hierarchy, with particular emphasis upon reduction of waste arising, re-use of equipment and recycling of materials.

Effective Managed Print Services will provide numerous environmental benefits to organisations. The proactive management of the print environment addresses the end-to-end life cycle of documents. Reducing the amount of paper, electricity and print consumables used is all part of being a responsible organisation. With a monitoring system in place as part of an Managed Print Solution, you will be able to identify and track levels of print usage. That way, you will be in a much better position to intervene and reduce your environmental footprint. And once you have done so, you can show the results of your paper saving efforts in your corporate social responsibility report.

Evaluating MPS Environmental Print Credentials

It is important to understand the environmental print credentials of prospective suppliers and how your organisation can leverage MPS to reduce your environmental impact. Both the technology and the business practices around using the technology should be carefully considered in order to get a well rounded understanding of the environmental competence and capabilities on offer.

Eco-friendly green printing can be achieved by combining the right blend of technology with the knowledge and expertise. Get in touch with Apogee today to discuss how we can help your organisation enhance your environmental print capabilities and reduce your carbon footprint.

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