IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Tue, 1st Jun 2010
FYI, this story is more than a year old

T he pursuit to buy green can be baffling for end-users, as so many vendors make claims of being green and it is hard to determine what’s valid and what is ‘green washing’. When considering a printing vendor, there are a number of factors you can consider to determine whether they really do constitute a green choice, or whether it is simply marketing spin. In the barrelPrinters themselves are not necessarily the main culprits when it comes to considering environmental impact. Choosing a printer that can print duplex and has power-saving features, such as standby mode, are the main simple considerations here. The printer generally sits on the desk doing its job for three years or so, while hundreds upon hundreds of toner cartridges are consumed. It is the toner cartridge itself that requires careful consideration with regards to what it contains, how it can be recycled and how efficient it is in terms of the amount of waste it contributes.Look carefully at the sort of toner cartridges the equipment uses. Are they made from recyclable material without too many ‘nasties’? How much waste is created when they are replaced? For instance, very few printers simply require a small toner cartridge when the toner runs out; most require the entire drum to be replaced. This adds a huge amount of waste which is difficult to recycle, not to mention the additional financial cost to the consumer. It is a worthwhile investment seeking out a vendor who has got this nailed, as it will save thousands of dollars and is the best environmental choice by far.Hazard lightsRoHS, or the Reduction of Hazardous Substances standard, originated in Europe and restricts the use of specific hazardous materials in electronic and electrical products, specifically those which are harmful to the environment, pollute landfills and are dangerous to humans when manufactured and recycled. Because compliance with RoHS is not mandatory in Australia and New Zealand, vendors that have made a commitment to RoHS are likely to be committed to reducing the impact of their devices on the environment.ISO eco-friendlyIt’s easy for a manufacturer  to claim it is green and its products don’t harm the environment, but does it actually have the ISO 14001 accreditation? This is the worldwide standard for environmental management systems, which is not a mandatory requirement and entails a rigorous accreditation process. Once accredited, organisations are then audited at least every 12 months and re-certified every three years to ensure they are still practising in an environmentally-friendly manner. Systems and processes are scrutinised as per the standards set out by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). An organisation that has gone to the effort and expense to achieve ISO 14001accreditation is one that’s demonstrating its commitment to developing an environmental policy and considering the environmental consequences of all its processes and business practices.Printing’s new blackManaged print services are the new black when it comes to printing. A vendor who has sound environmental credentials and offers full managed print services (MPS) is the optimum solution for those who want a green printing solution without the hassle of changing their own internal processes. MPS mean the customer only needs to think about the piece of paper that comes out of the printer, while the vendor or reseller handles everything else, like toner replacement, responsible toner cartridge recycling, equipment servicing, and device collection and recycling at the end of its useful life. They can also, particularly if they are device-agnostic, ensure you have the right sized fleet and the right mix of devices. This helps you to optimise the workflow and assets, and minimise waste in terms of energy consumption and emissions. Many a misguided business has larger, more energy-hungry devices doing the job that a smaller, more efficient machine could accomplish, had the needs of the business been carefully assessed upfront.