Beyond the Recycling Bin: 5 Practical Ways Technology Makes Your Company Greener

Posted by Rick Zampini - October 17, 2017 - Tech Trends
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“Going green” has become more than simply a buzzword today—it’s a necessity of doing business.

We all strive to reduce our negative impacts on the environment, whether it’s recycling food containers in the kitchen or implementing sustainable manufacturing processes. In Vermont, where SymQuest is headquartered, it will even be mandatory in 2020 for individuals and businesses to compost their biodegradable waste!

But beyond the recycling bin, what can your company do to become more environmentally friendly?

Technology is paving the way for greener business practices, making it simpler than ever to reduce waste and promote sustainability within your organization.

Here are five practical ideas for how you can use technology to make your company greener.  

1. Keep toner cartridges and print consumables out of landfills

Do not throw away your empty ink cartridges! Each year, over 375 million (that’s right—million!) empty ink and toner cartridges are thrown away, with most ending up in landfills or incinerators. That’s over one million wasted cartridges per day.

Did you know that these cartridges are both recyclable and reusable? It takes over three quarts of oil to produce each new laser cartridge. By simply recycling ink and toner cartridges, plus other print consumables such as imaging units, developer units, and drums, your company can significantly reduce your environmental impact.

What’s the easiest way to recycle toner cartridges? Many printer manufacturers and suppliers offer free recycling programs that are simple to implement within your organization.

The SymQuest Toner Recycling Program, along with the Konica Minolta Clean Planet Program, offers free consumables recycling options for businesses of every size. Whether you need a pre-paid UPS box that can be sent periodically or a high-volume gaylord, there’s no reason to throw out your empty cartridges when you can recycle them for free!

2. Reduce printer waste with print management software

Want to take “green printing” to the next level? Reduce your printing needs altogether.

Print management software helps you monitor and track printer usage by individual or by department so that you can implement changes. It’s no secret that printing privileges can often be abused within organizations. Beyond being bad news for your budget, out-of-control printing habits are hard on the environment.

Print management software allows you to curb irresponsible printing by implementing measures such as print quotas and filters. You can also set pop-ups to remind your team to print double-sided or to discourage color print jobs. By drawing users’ attention to their printing habits with reminders and alerts, you can help to modify their behavior and reduce waste.

If your company uses a print management program such as PaperCut, your users can see an Environmental Impact calculator on their user web interface. The Environmental Impact Calculator calculates a person’s impact based on how many trees’ worth of paper they have used; how much carbon was used during paper production; and the energy used by manufacturing processes for producing paper.


3. Limit paper files with Enterprise Content Management

If you really want to limit your office’s printer and paper waste, implement Enterprise Content Management, or ECM software. ECM stores and organizes all of your business’s critical documents, emails, and other content in a single searchable platform.  

Select an ECM platform with document-capture capabilities so that you can transform documents from virtually any source into searchable content. With ECM, not only can you significantly reduce your company’s reliance on paper files, but you can streamline your business processes and simplify your daily operations. It’s a win-win!

4. Reduce your carbon footprint by moving to the cloud

Many people are well aware that moving critical business data to the cloud provides increased security, agility, and business continuity. But many people don’t realize that moving to the cloud is also a way to make your company greener.

Think about it: when you virtualize your IT infrastructure by moving data to the cloud, your business uses and consumes significantly less physical equipment. Fewer pieces of hardware means less power is needed to run your critical business functions, and less e-waste is generated because you don’t need to constantly replace and upgrade equipment.

A reduced carbon footprint isn’t often cited as a reason to move to the cloud (companies report the top three reasons as cost savings, scalability, and reliability), but it’s time for the cloud to be seen as a sustainable technology solution.     

5. Eliminate travel pollution with virtual meetings

If you have local meetings to attend, it can be tempting to drive and meet up in person. There’s no denying that face-to-face interaction is important, but before driving, consider whether an in-person get-together is really necessary.

Today’s virtual meeting tools make remote meetings just as effective as meeting in-person. With screen-sharing, presentation tools, audio optimization, and webcams, virtual meetings are a simple option that reduces your emissions by eliminating the need to drive.  


Technology has helped to push business further than ever before. Now, leverage the technology that’s available to reduce your business’s environmental impact.

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about the author

Rick Zampini

Rick Zampini is a Production Print Specialist for SymQuest's Document Solutions team. Zampini works with clients to provide efficient solutions to document output related problems specifically in the area of production print, and high capacity printing needs.

Rick Zampini
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