Printers

Ways to reduce office paper costs

Ways to keep paper costs down


In “Quit wasting paper,” I made a big stink about how end users (and many IT people) could save a lot of money by reducing the number of frivolous print jobs that result in unused printouts and worn-out printers. I suggested we should re-train our end users and help them learn to modify their wasteful behaviors.

The response from TechRepublic members was fast and furious, and I thought you’d want to see some of the highlights from the private e-mails and comments posted on the site. If you want to add your two cents, please post a comment below or send us a note.

Tree hugging?
Rbrightwell wrote: “Oh puleez! It’s not the responsibility of the IT department to dictate what users do with their paper supplies. The leaders of the various departments should shoulder that load. I've got enough to worry about besides being the company tree-hugger.”

Pape8 concurred: “It looks like the author was searching for a topic to complain about. There are far more significant problems we face in the workplace than printing documents and using paper and toner.”

The user who printed everything
Stu wrote: “I have many people in my office that waste paper from time to time. But I have one person that has to be the absolute worst printer abuser. She prints absolutely everything—e-mails she sends out, e-mail sent to her, all documents she can get her hands on.

“She has a 6x9 cube that is filled to the brim with paper. She has a four-foot horizontal file cabinet, four overhead cabinets, over seven feet of desk space filled with documents, and numerous boxes of papers under her desk.

“To give you a bar to measure on—we have four Digital printserv17's in our office. They are really reliable printers except for one of them. I do service on them every 200k pages. For 3 of them, this is every 3 months (about). For the one that this person uses, I do service every month and sometimes earlier!

“Then to top this whole story, SHE IS AN ENVIRONMENTALIST! She is constantly complaining about other people wasting paper and printing junk. So I would like to thank Jeff for bringing this up. I am sure that most of you will run into this from time to time being in the IT department.

“I have one question, though. Does anybody have a good poster or something to put above the printer that might wake up this person? I really do not want to confront her since I know that outcome would not be good. Thanks for letting me vent!”

Is there a software solution?
Bobibee wrote: “It is all well and good we talk about stopping the wastage of paper, but I have been trying to do that for some time now in my work environment. But I need help. Ifsomeoneoutthereknowsofanysoftwarethatcanrunonanetworkthatenablesonetocontroltheusageofpaperbysettinguserlimitsandprovidesforaccesspasswords,pleaseletusknow. In the college lab I manage, this is a huge problem.”

Glen’s tips from Down Under
TechRepublic member GlenVictor wrote: “I agree with you completely. Here are some tips I offer, which everyone agrees are good, but hardly anyone actually implements:
  • Most printers print double sided, thereby cutting the paper costs in half.
  • Print a black and white draft before printing a color one. It's cheaper.

“Some ideas for used paper:
  1. Mulch. When I was living in rural Australia, I used shredded paper as mulch. It was free and worked just as good as traditional mulch. It also met the organic farmer's association rules for mulch.
  2. Scratchpads. Cut them up and use a bulldog clip for the office or home.
  3. Recycledpaper. People make paper from paper. It's not hard.
  4. Paperbricks. Buildings are made with them.”

In “Quit wasting paper,” I made a big stink about how end users (and many IT people) could save a lot of money by reducing the number of frivolous print jobs that result in unused printouts and worn-out printers. I suggested we should re-train our end users and help them learn to modify their wasteful behaviors.

The response from TechRepublic members was fast and furious, and I thought you’d want to see some of the highlights from the private e-mails and comments posted on the site. If you want to add your two cents, please post a comment below or send us a note.

Tree hugging?
Rbrightwell wrote: “Oh puleez! It’s not the responsibility of the IT department to dictate what users do with their paper supplies. The leaders of the various departments should shoulder that load. I've got enough to worry about besides being the company tree-hugger.”

Pape8 concurred: “It looks like the author was searching for a topic to complain about. There are far more significant problems we face in the workplace than printing documents and using paper and toner.”

The user who printed everything
Stu wrote: “I have many people in my office that waste paper from time to time. But I have one person that has to be the absolute worst printer abuser. She prints absolutely everything—e-mails she sends out, e-mail sent to her, all documents she can get her hands on.

“She has a 6x9 cube that is filled to the brim with paper. She has a four-foot horizontal file cabinet, four overhead cabinets, over seven feet of desk space filled with documents, and numerous boxes of papers under her desk.

“To give you a bar to measure on—we have four Digital printserv17's in our office. They are really reliable printers except for one of them. I do service on them every 200k pages. For 3 of them, this is every 3 months (about). For the one that this person uses, I do service every month and sometimes earlier!

“Then to top this whole story, SHE IS AN ENVIRONMENTALIST! She is constantly complaining about other people wasting paper and printing junk. So I would like to thank Jeff for bringing this up. I am sure that most of you will run into this from time to time being in the IT department.

“I have one question, though. Does anybody have a good poster or something to put above the printer that might wake up this person? I really do not want to confront her since I know that outcome would not be good. Thanks for letting me vent!”

Is there a software solution?
Bobibee wrote: “It is all well and good we talk about stopping the wastage of paper, but I have been trying to do that for some time now in my work environment. But I need help. Ifsomeoneoutthereknowsofanysoftwarethatcanrunonanetworkthatenablesonetocontroltheusageofpaperbysettinguserlimitsandprovidesforaccesspasswords,pleaseletusknow. In the college lab I manage, this is a huge problem.”

Glen’s tips from Down Under
TechRepublic member GlenVictor wrote: “I agree with you completely. Here are some tips I offer, which everyone agrees are good, but hardly anyone actually implements:
  • Most printers print double sided, thereby cutting the paper costs in half.
  • Print a black and white draft before printing a color one. It's cheaper.

“Some ideas for used paper:
  1. Mulch. When I was living in rural Australia, I used shredded paper as mulch. It was free and worked just as good as traditional mulch. It also met the organic farmer's association rules for mulch.
  2. Scratchpads. Cut them up and use a bulldog clip for the office or home.
  3. Recycledpaper. People make paper from paper. It's not hard.
  4. Paperbricks. Buildings are made with them.”

Cut waste, add savings to the IT budget
Here’s what CharlesM.Green had to say: “In regards to waste in the office, I worked as a copier/printer sales agent. Talk about waste! I worked with companies every day that didn't even realize how much they were wasting because they didn't track it. Ihavehelpedcompaniessavehundredsofdollarseverymonthjustbyhelpingthemsetupprintqueuetrackingandcopier/printeradministrationcorrectly.

“The average small company (1 to 10 employees) prints 5,000 to 10,000 pages per month. The average midsize (10 to 30 employees) prints anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 pages per month. Within the last few years, a lot of companies have started to switch from buying their own supplies to a flat cost-per-copy charge included in their maintenance program.

“It works like this, if you print a black and white document to a black and white printer, it costs around 2 cents per print on a midsize copier/printer capable of printing 20-30 pages per minute. If you print the same document to a color copier/printer (which produces 8 to 12 prints per minute), it costs around 10 to 16 cents per copy/print instead of the 2 cents on the black and white printer. Waste in this example is 8-14 cents PER print and the document is still in black and white.

“Now take that same black and white document and add one line or even one color character to it. This single change makes it a color document. If you print a color document to a black and white printer, it still costs 2 cents per print. But if you print the color document to a color copier/printer, that color print costs approximately 25 cents PER print. So a 2-cent print job can easily turn into a 25-cent print job. Multiply those costs by thousands of prints per month, you can see how a fraction of a cent turns into huge capital waste. As a motivator, why not turn this waste into an extended IT budget?”
Each Tuesday, Jeff Davis tells it like he sees it from the trenches of the IT battle. And you can get his report from the frontlines delivered straight to your e-mail front door. Subscribe to Jeff's View from Ground Zero TechMail, and you'll get a bonus of Jeff's picks for the best Web stuff—exclusively for our TechMail subscribers. To respond to this article, please post a comment below or send Jeff a note.
Cut waste, add savings to the IT budget
Here’s what CharlesM.Green had to say: “In regards to waste in the office, I worked as a copier/printer sales agent. Talk about waste! I worked with companies every day that didn't even realize how much they were wasting because they didn't track it. Ihavehelpedcompaniessavehundredsofdollarseverymonthjustbyhelpingthemsetupprintqueuetrackingandcopier/printeradministrationcorrectly.

“The average small company (1 to 10 employees) prints 5,000 to 10,000 pages per month. The average midsize (10 to 30 employees) prints anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 pages per month. Within the last few years, a lot of companies have started to switch from buying their own supplies to a flat cost-per-copy charge included in their maintenance program.

“It works like this, if you print a black and white document to a black and white printer, it costs around 2 cents per print on a midsize copier/printer capable of printing 20-30 pages per minute. If you print the same document to a color copier/printer (which produces 8 to 12 prints per minute), it costs around 10 to 16 cents per copy/print instead of the 2 cents on the black and white printer. Waste in this example is 8-14 cents PER print and the document is still in black and white.

“Now take that same black and white document and add one line or even one color character to it. This single change makes it a color document. If you print a color document to a black and white printer, it still costs 2 cents per print. But if you print the color document to a color copier/printer, that color print costs approximately 25 cents PER print. So a 2-cent print job can easily turn into a 25-cent print job. Multiply those costs by thousands of prints per month, you can see how a fraction of a cent turns into huge capital waste. As a motivator, why not turn this waste into an extended IT budget?”
Each Tuesday, Jeff Davis tells it like he sees it from the trenches of the IT battle. And you can get his report from the frontlines delivered straight to your e-mail front door. Subscribe to Jeff's View from Ground Zero TechMail, and you'll get a bonus of Jeff's picks for the best Web stuff—exclusively for our TechMail subscribers. To respond to this article, please post a comment below or send Jeff a note.

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