Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
11/9/2010
05:41 PM
Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
Commentary
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Go Green With Fewer Printers, Says Xerox Exec

Of course, they should be large, pricey workgroup printers. Or you can cut the cord and use electronic documents, but that never seems to happen.

Of course, they should be large, pricey workgroup printers. Or you can cut the cord and use electronic documents, but that never seems to happen.Quoted in a recent business publication in Cincinnati, an executive for Xerox appeared to be preaching heresy: use fewer printers.

Of course, she's right.

Patty Calkins, Xerox' global vice president of environment, health, and safety, was quoted in an interview as saying that it is greener to have fewer workgroup MFPs than scads of individual printer/scanners. The latter are only being used 1 to 2 percent of the time, and are wasting electricity the rest of the time, she reportedly said. Moreover, they require more maintenance.

She might have mentioned that the refill ink is usually cheaper per unit of volume in larger printers. As for the 1 or 2 percent usage, even that seems optimistic-a machine in use 1 percent of the time would be spending 14 minutes per day printing. As for maintenance, it seems fairer to say that the individual units and the workgroup units take the same maintenance time: to install it when it arrives, and then dispose of it when it fails. (The users change the ink.) So you do get more bang for your maintenance buck with workgroup units, but the difference may not be a deal-breaker.

And she might have mentioned that Xerox surely gets more margin from workgroup units than with individual units, so her message is actually good for Xerox-but you knew that.

Calkins also urged us to pay attention to whether our toner is susceptible to de-inking, since it makes for better paper recycling. Offices should use recycled paper, and print on both sides of the page, she added. (Of course, cheaper printers don't do duplex printing.)

She also noted that using electronic documents is even greener than using workgroup printers, as it does away with paper entirely. But saying that is not going to put Xerox out of business, either-when an office gets on the Internet (and is in a position to exchange electronic documents) paper use surges 40 percent, she noted.

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