Green Business Practices: Smart & Strategic Choices for Non-Profits
Many non-profit organizations work toward missions to make a better world. That’s probably why we see so many non-profits embracing green business practices that minimize their impact on the environment.
You may be wondering, what are green business practices our organization can implement in support of our mission?
There are many ways you can reduce your environmental impact even if you don’t have a lot of time or resources to devote to the task. One smart strategy is to find where you’re using more than you need and stop waste. Printing is a great area to start with because there is so much waste!
Keep reading to learn about some easy printing strategies to cut waste and your environmental impact.
Change basic printing habits
Printing double sided, or duplex, is a great way to increase paper efficiency. Unless your printing something with specific needs, you probably don’t think about formatting or your printer’s settings. Often printing is just done with whatever settings the printer defaults to. Setting the default on your printer to double sided means you’ll automatically be saving paper without having to think about it. Reducing the amount of paper used not only saves trees but also the water and energy required to create and transport that paper. And if you ever need to print single sided, it’s still easy to change it back.
Choosing sustainable paper helps reduce your footprint. Recycling bins are a staple of green business practices for a reason. Make sure your paper is recyclable (marked with the typical three arrows in a triangle) and install recycling bins in your office. You can also look for paper with a high percentage of post consumer content, which means it’s made with recycled material and less new material or lumber.
Recycle or refill the ink cartridges used in desktop printers instead of replacing them. Many companies will take them back and recycle them for you. Sometimes its possible to refill your old cartridges instead of discarding them and buying new ones. Even these small green business practices can help save the oil-heavy plastic of ink cartridges from the landfill.
Find & eliminate wasted resources with managed printing
Managed printing is a way of taking control of all your organization’s printing resources and practices. It helps you identify waste so you can cut costs and improve efficiency. Here are just a few examples of what you can do:
Consolidate printers. Do many individual offices or cubicles have their own printers in your workplace? That adds up to a lot of waste for a little convenience. One of the best green business practices is to consolidate your machines. Instead of many smaller printers that all need to be maintained and stocked with their own paper and varying types of ink, choose one shared multifunction printer/copier (MFP).
A shared MFP centralizes printing and provides more functions, such as scanning and emailing. It saves desk and office space as well as the electricity required to run all those separate printers. It’s also easier to maintain than many smaller units with a variety of models that all need different maintenance and ink cartridges.
Also, MFPs are designed to use parts more efficiently. Did you know that every time you throw away a desktop printer ink cartridge, you’re also throwing out the drum and other parts? MFPs separate these parts so you only replace them when needed.
With modern shared printers, you can also get the latest green printing technology, insteading of being stuck with outdated printers. More eco-friendly technology makes it easier to follow green business practices. For example, some manufacturers (such as Canon), design their machines to use printer lines instead of wasteful ink cartridges.
In fact, Canon donates a tree for every purchase of an imageRUNNER ADVANCE printer as part of the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Donation Program.
Use print management software to reduce printing waste. Know a coworker who prints all their emails? Keep seeing spreadsheets printed in color for no reason? Print management software allows you to place rules on primary sources of waste. You can default to black and white and duplex printing, block printing from certain websites or applications, and even give warnings or place limits on certain printers or individual users that go over a limit.
You can also see where you are wasting the most – teams, individual people, locations, or from what software or sites. This can also help you monitor your progress and set tangible sustainability goals. Software makes it easy to implement green business practices across your whole team.
The best part is, it’s easy to do.
Get started with a free, no-obligation printing assessment to find out how you can save money and support your mission by eliminating printing waste.
What you stand to gain from green business practices
Yes, these practices support your mission and help save the world, but did you know they can also save time and money?
As a non-profit, you may be concerned about the financial implications of green business practices. It’s certainly true that some green business practices can cost money. But having a limited budget does not have to hold you back from becoming a more sustainable operation.
Green business practices often involve reducing waste and using your resources efficiently. Oftentimes, this also saves money that you would otherwise have to spend on things like ink and paper. Even if you do end up choosing green products or methods that cost more than their alternatives, you can at least break even if not save money by reducing your spending on wasteful products.
Simplify maintenance and storage
Green business practices can be simpler practices. Consolidating to one multifunction printer makes it easier to maintain the machine, and you no longer have to stockpile many different kinds of ink. Printing double-sided and maximizing resources means you replace paper and office supplies less often, saving you storage space and money.
Improve your image
Implementing green business practices shows you act on your organization’s values. Following through on your beliefs makes your non-profit come across as reliable and trustworthy. Even if it isn’t the focus of your mission, many donors support multiple causes and want their money to go to an organization that upholds what they believe in.
Managed printing supports your mission
Even if your non profit isn’t focused on environmental issues, we all have corporate social responsibility to use green business practices when we can. Not only is it the right thing to do for the environment, it’s the right thing for your organization. Sustainability doesn’t have to be a lofty goal, or require much effort. Small changes to your workplace routine can help increase efficiency, reduce waste, and save money.
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