How To Make Your Office-Equipment Procurement Greener
Much of the waste goes overseas and pollutes landfills, potentially leaching out toxic chemicals like lead, mercury and cadmium to the detriment of groundwater, plants and wildlife. Bad as that is, it’s also a waste of the valuable metals used in technological products.
Luckily, there are ways to replace equipment responsibly. Here are some ideas to ensure your company isn’t creating significant environmental waste in its attempts to keep up with office technology.
Have A Plan For Your Equipment
If you buy your office equipment, you should have a plan for how you’re going to dispose of it in a way that avoids creating more landfill waste.
If you can, work with a company that offers equipment recycling. Kyocera’s ECO footPRINT Toner Recycling Program, for instance, lets companies send their empty Kyocera toner containers back to its recycling partner, Close the Loop, and 100 percent of those containers are turned into other useful objects. Kyocera offers this service free to its customers.
If such a program is unavailable, you may be able to resell to a company that refurbishes and sells office equipment to other businesses or to the public. Donating it directly to a nonprofit or an organization that overhauls such equipment for individuals and nonprofits is also an option. And don’t forget — a donation often entitles you to a tax write-off.
If you can’t find someone who wants your office equipment, make sure to find a certified recycling company that will take it. Before choosing a recycler, look into its practices to ensure that your toxic e-waste doesn’t end up being shipped to — and polluting — other countries.
Estimates of how much of e-waste goes overseas differ greatly. But one organization put GPS trackers in old computers and found that U.S. e-waste ended up as far away as Mexico, Taiwan, Kenya and Thailand. The landfills that accept them are not always managed well, leading to negative environmental and human impacts.
If you’re leasing your equipment, find out what the leasing company will do with the equipment at the end of your lease term. You can even ask it to lay out its recycling practices clearly in your contract.
Use Your Gear Longer
One of the best ways to reduce waste is to use your office equipment for as long as possible. How long to wait before replacing a given item can be hard to calculate, since rapid advances in technology mean that your current tech may quickly become inefficient and could lead to loss of productivity — or even environmental waste in the form of energy or paper.
When it comes to multifunctional printers or copiers, many companies lease their gear rather than purchasing it outright. The average leasing contract runs between 12 and 36 months — and most companies upgrade at the end of the contract. A 48- or 60-month lease might also work for your company — if you choose the right equipment.
Whether you purchase or lease, make sure you select a multifunctional printer and copier that lasts longer, prints faster, meets high environmental standards and is adaptive enough to keep up with changes in your needs and advances in complementary technology. The goal is to best balance longevity with other important criteria.
Buy The Most Environmentally Friendly Office Equipment
Be sure to check out the Energy Star rating for each system you’re considering.
In addition, consider other potentially wasteful aspects of usage. For example, if you’re looking to invest in a multifunctional printer and copier, start with those Energy Star ratings. At the same time, look at such factors as how many prints you’ll get per printer drum and the expected life span of the machine and the document management software. (You may also want to institute office protocols that will help you set printing limits.)
Get Customized Equipment
If you work in an industry or office environment that has complex or atypical office equipment needs, finding the right equipment to fulfill them may prove difficult. Legal offices might need MFPs with more capacity for legal paper, while construction companies might need to print outdoors. In such cases, you might opt to buy something that isn’t ideal — with the intention of waiting to see if technological advances eventually produce something more suitable and replace your equipment then. That’s not just environmentally irresponsible; it’s also expensive.
Instead of waiting for the market to generate exactly the innovation you need, seek out companies such as Kyocera that will customize and adapt your multifunctional printers and copiers for your business. You can work with them to meet all your paper processing and electronic document and data needs so that you don’t have to buy — and later replace — technology that isn’t the right fit for your business.
Reducing Impact On The Environment Helps Your Bottom Line
While it can sometimes seem to make better financial sense to buy the latest office equipment and get rid of your old gear, the costs of recycling responsibly and constantly purchasing new equipment add up. By buying equipment that lasts longer and is adaptable to your needs, you’re more likely to produce superior work — with less environmental impact.
Originally published on Forbes Kyocera Brand Voice.