Print and be damned: huge amounts of paper still wasted in offices


Print and be damned: huge amounts of paper still wasted in offices

Microscope contributor

By Billy MacInnes

Almost 70% of paper sheets printed by office workers in a year are "wasted or unnecessary", according to a report commissioned by Kyocera.

The Rethinking Printing Report found that despite a high level of environmental concern (63%), office workers are failing to change their workplace printing behaviour, printing as much paper as ever with more than a third printing more than they did last year. Only 22% claimed to have printed less. Three-quarters of employees printed personal documents in the workplace.

The report found the average office worker printed 10,000 sheets in a year of which 6,800 were wasted or unnecessary. With only 24% of companies having a formal written printing policy many employees were not interested in making the effort to change their behaviour in the absence of a carrot or stick to encourage them to do so. Despite the findings, almost 70% of managers believed educating users around cost benefits would encourage best printing practice, suggesting things are unlikely to change in the short term.

Conducted by Loudhouse Research, the report also found a level of "green fatigue" with levels of environmental concern among office workers down from 77% in 2008 to 63% this year. Concern about climate change has fallen from 65% to 50%.

In a bid to make their printing set up more efficient and reduce the amount of time (a third) IT departments devote to supporting printing services, many companies are looking at managed print services (MPS). A fifth of businesses have already adopted MPS and the figure may rise to 59% next year if those who intend to implement MPS within the next 12 months go ahead with their plans.

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