Multifunction Printers Can Help Reach Zero Carbon and Zero Waste Goals

In today’s fast-paced office environment, there are more printers, copiers, and scanners than you can count. They are essential tools in many offices despite the advancement of the digital age. But did you know that each of those products can be important elements of your organization’s effort to reach its zero carbon and zero waste goals?

ENERGY STAR certified products use up to 35% less energy than their conventional counterparts and have numerous features to enhance the energy savings, while keeping up with the pace of your business. Remanufactured imaging products have recently become eligible for the ENERGY STAR label. So, when the lease is up on your ENERGY STAR certified office product, you can lease or purchase an old (but “new” again) remanufactured energy-saving product!

What does your printer do when you are not around?

The typical multi-function device is in use only about 5% of the time. With proper sleep settings, there is a lot of energy that can be saved while your copier does nothing. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label are designed to wake up faster than ever before (without a cup of coffee)! Think about how often you are using your equipment and start by setting the sleep timer for 6 minutes, which is the default setting for many major manufacturers, like Ricoh. You can always scale back a little bit if you are finding that the setting is not the right one for your office.

Outside of sleep, there are numerous things you can do to reduce the carbon footprint of your imaging equipment.

  • Avoid printing entirely, where possible. The typical office worker uses roughly 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year, of which 45% ends up in the trash by the end of the day.

Tip: If you are printing a document just to scan it, try turning it into a pdf to save paper.

  • If you must print, duplex. Reduce paper consumption by configuring your computer and imaging equipment defaults to duplexing.
  • Consider using a secure-print feature to avoid abandoned or lost jobs. It is estimated that 10-35% of total pages printed are left at the printer and never picked up. Combat this by locking the printer until the document is released by the initiator.

Give Your Multifunction Printer a New Lease on Life

We’ve talked about the features on your products, but what about the product itself? Depending on your needs, a remanufactured product may be a way to further advance your sustainability goals. A remanufactured imaging product[1] is a used piece of equipment that has been returned to the manufacturer, who has then-utilizing new or used component parts- made the product “like new” again. This benefits the environment through less manufacturing and resource use, and the customer in the form of lower price points on efficient products. These products have long been popular for schools, religious organizations, governments, and factory floors.

The benefit of this process is that you can save the greenhouse gas emissions associated with new raw materials, production, and distribution. For example, based on data provided by Japan’s EcoLeaf program, the savings are on the order of 1,000 lbs. of CO2 equivalent for each product that is remanufactured. In addition, if certified, these products meet the ENERGY STAR criteria currently in effect, so you know that you are getting something that continues to save energy during its second life.

Where can I find ENERGY STAR certified Remanufactured Imaging Equipment?

The ENERGY STAR Product Finder includes a sort function for those product lines that include remanufactured products. From there you can reach out to that manufacturer to see what models are being remanufactured and how they fit the needs of your office.

Benefitting from the energy efficiency of an ENERGY STAR certified product means paying less and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of your imaging equipment purchase at the same time. This is just another way that ENERGY STAR and its partners are helping businesses improve their bottom line and environmental footprint.

Interested in more ways that you can efficiently run your office products? Visit our Ask the Expert pages on power management and other energy efficient tips for computers.

And if you have a data center on site, don’t forget about our data center resources to improve efficiency.


[1] There are also refurbished products that exist in the market. This definition is more nebulous and may vary by the entity offering the product. For the purposes of ENERGY STAR, the product must meet the ENERGY STAR definition of a remanufactured product.

Author: Ryan Fogle, ENERGY STAR Certified Products