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Now a much-needed part of every office, printers have come a long way since their invention in 1938. Printers have become essential for workplaces and homes alike, having been adapted to a modern world that demands functionality at their fingertips. Not only have they been improved to make our lives easier, but also to protect the environment.

As people are growing more aware of the climate crisis, technology has to head in a more eco-friendly direction or face becoming a thing of the past. So, what has been done to improve the sustainability of printers, and what potential changes can be made in the future to secure a greener planet?

Multifunctional

When the printer was invented, it did what it said on the tin – print. Nowadays, we get much more for both our money and space with multifunctional models. Typically including a photocopier and scanner as well as the standard printing function, these printers are space savers as well as highly practical in office environments.

Multifunctional printers are much more eco-friendly than standard models, as you won’t have to use multiple gadgets. In fact, it’s thought that they conserve up to 80% more energy than if you ran four machines. This, along with the energy-saving mode many printers now come with, is much better for the environment than purchasing multiple pieces of tech to run at the same time.

Recycling

Many people throw out their ink cartridges without a second thought, but this is actually a big mistake that has a detrimental effect on the environment. In fact, over 45 million empty cartridges go to landfills in the UK every year, all of which take over one thousand years to decompose. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on printing, however, but rather what you do once the cartridge is empty – which is now easier than ever thanks to the internet.

Regardless of if you’re printing from home from work, it only takes a matter of minutes to recycle your cartridges. All you need to do is put your empties in a box, register with the Zero Waste Recycling website, and arrange for a collection of your box or arrange your own delivery. It’s as simple as that.

Double-sided printing

While it may not be a modern addition to any model, double-sided printing can save a significant amount of paper. In fact, you can save over one tonne of greenhouse gases for every 100 reams of paper, all while halving paper costs according to Sustainability Victoria. By implementing a strict double-sided printing policy, you can save both money and energy for your business. As well as using this function, choose recycled paper to make your printing projects more sustainable.

The future

Of course, there’s always room for improvement. It’s difficult to tell where the future of printers and other office gadgets is going, although demand suggests that sustainability will be at the forefront of many people’s minds. This could involve reducing the energy output of printers, using recycled parts only, or new settings to further eliminate any concerns surrounding sustainability. Technology is developing at an increasing rate, so there’s no doubt that developments will continue when it comes to both printers and how we go about our everyday lives.

Next time you’re purchasing a printer, choose a multifunctional option that includes energy-saving functions and the ability to print double-sided. While this may seem like small changes, they have a significant effect on our environment as they reduce energy and paper waste. As well as these key features, the ability to recycle ink cartridges is easier than ever, preventing a large amount of plastic waste.

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