Environmental Impact of the Office Machine Industry

In today’s society, the environment and our ecological footprint is becoming increasingly more important. Companies are constantly striving to devise environmentally friendly practices that decrease the impact their products have on the environment and our industry is no different. Many multifunctional devices now come equipped with various “eco-settings”, aimed towards energy and supply conservation, however there are still improvements to be made in order to ensure we, as an industry, are making the best possible effort towards protecting our environment.


Hard Copies of Today

While there are, undeniably, several environmental concerns surrounding the multifunctional device and printing industry, wasting paper and improper disposal of toner and ink cartridges are at the forefront of the debate. With an increase in various means of digital media, the need for printed, or “hard”, copies is lessening, and features such as scan to email and direct USB ports are becoming more widely utilized on multifunctional devices. Features such as these allow the user to scan a document and email it to several destinations, as opposed to printing several copies of a document and physically handing it out to various people. The user is then able to view the document directly on their computer screen, thereby eliminating the number of wasteful pages printed.


Ink and Toner Cartridges

The environmental impact of the consumption and disposal of ink and toner cartridges is also an issue various manufacturers of multifunctional devices seek to greatly improve. The toxic ingredients that compose ink and toner cartridges pose a very serious threat to our environment if not disposed of properly by the user. All too often, empty cartridges end up in landfills, where they sit for the decades it takes for the ingredients to decompose. Many companies have implemented strategies to combat this practice, such as various drop off points at which the user can safely dispose of their empty ink and toner cartridges. The cartridges are then taken to a facility and either recycled or disposed of in a proper, environmentally friendly manner.


Be an Educated Consumer

The need to educate the consumer and alleviate the environmental impact our industry creates and, subsequently, the consequences of our products, is of high importance. Companies that manufacture ink and toner – as well as those manufacturing the machines that utilize them – are constantly trying to decrease the environmental footprint of such products. However, it is up to the consumer to take advantage of ink and toner recycling programs and to act conscientiously with regards to paper consumption.