And what does that mean in real terms? It means we damage our bottom-line & our environment.

Let me say at the outset, this is not a tirade about the evils of copiers & printers. Such devices have a role to play in 21st century business and there is solid evidence to assume this will continue BUT a recent survey carried out for D Dales, the UK distributor of Develop printers & copiers, revealed that 52% of employees aged 18 to 44 thought their company had too many paper-based processes that could or should be digitised.

This strongly reflects Global Impact’s conclusions drawn from the sustainability audits we do with new clients where, almost without exception, printing and copying activity reflects an inclination toward increasing rather than reducing printer volumes.

The assertion is that, as the title suggests, we do indeed print too much and, if our client experience is reflective of the national printer population, it is in the range of 20% to 30% too much. Using the lower end of the range it is safe to assume that Danish businesses alone spend between 675m & 725m kroner on unnecessary printing every year. Kroner for kroner, this at least 675m of lost profit &, for the Danish state, over 100m kroner’s worth of lost tax receipts, which would otherwise fund the schools & hospitals upon which we all depend.

The role of this short article however is to marry the impact of commercial costs & lost profit with the environmental impact of our inadvertent over-printing. And here’s the point – all that unnecessary printing has astonishing, rippled implications for the environment.

These 2 simple observations make the point;

Printer aging:

The extra printing that could have been avoided means our devices wear out faster than they need to. The results; a) more printing devices are made than would otherwise be necessary, b) we therefore buy more devices than we needed to and, in the process, c) consume resources we need not have consumed.

Printers as polluting agents:

A) The more we use our printers the more electricity we consume. We estimate our businesses spend 5.15 kroner on electricity for this excess printing each month on each and every device we own. One recent client had 106 such devices – you do the math.

B) The more printing we do the more our printer suppliers travel (unnecessarily) to repair our devices that become more unreliable because we overuse them.

C) When we finally give-in and order the replacement or additional device it has 000’s of kms of transport history adding to global pollution output.

If our average 18 to 44 year old colleague is to be believed, we do indeed print more than we need to and the impact of that is two-fold;

1.      Your bottom-line is being damaged

2.      Your business is damaging the environment (your environment) by printing unnecessarily

The opposite however is also true and reflects the truism that sustainability (in this case managing your fleet of devices and digitising all processes that can easily be digitised);

A)     Builds profit back into your business

B)     Benefits both the environment and your sustainability profile