Just in Time for Earth Day: BLI’s Paper-Saving Solutions Roundup

Learn How to Cut Costs and Be “Green”



Rob Watts

Reducing paper waste in your organization’s copy/print stream is a worthwhile goal throughout the year, but the message is especially germane around Earth Day. While much of the paper businesses consume is unavoidable, cutting unnecessary usage can save countless trees and keep untold amounts of chlorine and other chemicals used in the manufacture of paper from entering the environment. And the good news is that saving on paper waste is easier than it has ever been. Scores of solutions exist to help customers cut down on wasteful printing. These products, which run anywhere in price from a free download to several thousand dollars, all share the same quality in that they can help an organization become more eco-friendly. Here are just some examples:

Xerox Print Awareness Tool
The Xerox Print Awareness Tool aims to help organizations foster responsible printing and reduce output costs. The solution lets end users gauge their print output behavior, and teaches them what they can do to reduce waste. The hook behind the Print Awareness Tool is that it uses “gamification” techniques to educate and train. First, employees are asked how much printing they believe they do, followed by a report of what their actual output is like. Users try to improve their print usage and are scored on a points system. Resource-heavy prints such as simplex and color printing, for example, would result in lost points. Competitive types will love comparing their points at the end of each month with the rest of the organization, and up to 10,000 users can have their print activity recorded. A rewards system can be put in place by the administrator to further motivate employees.

Canon uniFLOW
Accurately tracking the cost of printing is important for businesses of all sizes. Canon uniFLOW handles a range of tasks, including features that help businesses be more eco-friendly. The program tracks every print and copy that goes through a network, and quotas can be set by user or department in order to curb wasteful printing. Administrators can also configure printing rules that would, for instance, force printing in duplex mode to help companies save on paper. Reports allow for easy identification of which users or groups have helped save on paper, giving businesses the opportunity to reward good behavior.

Print Audit 6
Essentially, Print Audit 6 tracks print output and provides detailed reports, allowing customers to monitor their staff’s behavior. With this knowledge, businesses can spot pain points in their fleet and optimize behavior. Administrators can utilize the rules mode to further promote cost-efficient and eco-friendly printing. For instance, users can be forced to output specific types of files in duplex mode and be restricted from color usage when printing from the web. Besides helping the organization save on wasteful printing, the solution also comes with a wealth of report templates and security features.

Nuance Equitrac (Express, Office, and Professional editions)
The so-called “paperless office” isn’t going to be a reality any time soon, so it’s crucial that organizations curb their output as much as they possibly can. The Equitrac platform, which comes in different versions for customers of all types and sizes, enables organizations to track and control all jobs on the network, as well as configure and enforce rules to curb wasteful printing. Account limits can be set by user, so certain employees can only be allowed to print up to a certain amount of pages. More eco-friendly measures, such as duplexing, can also be forced by the solution.

PaperCut NG/MF
As the name implies, PaperCut’s original function was to help reduce the number of pages an organization prints/copies. The software lets end users track their individual accounts and allows administrators to set print quotas to users and groups. PaperCut’s dashboard shows, among other things, the environmental impact of an organization’s print jobs. Having data that shows the immediate impact of the company’s actions plays an important role in encouraging meaningful change in an organization. When the dashboard illustrates the positive impact the organization has had since installing PaperCut, it’s bound to start a positive feedback loop of improved practices.

HP Access Control
Coming in both Enterprise and Express flavors, HP Access Control is designed to provide customized reports that give businesses a full view of their print operations and empower them to ultimately save on wasteful paper use. Additionally, Access Control comes with pull printing functionality, which means that jobs will never be printed unless the user goes through the trouble of authenticating at the device. Report information integrates with outside backend systems thanks to its CSV format support.

Y Soft SafeQ
Control over print jobs and eco-friendly settings are key to this offering from YSoft. It offers tracking and billing as well as secure printing. Best of all, SafeQ allows users to see a clear indication of the impact their behavior has on the company from the environmental green statistics widget on their dashboard. A popup can advise users to consider a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective means of handling their job. The applet can be set to display the estimated price of the job and allow employees to consider, say, printing in black and white to save on costs.

PrintReleaf measures a company’s paper consumption and calculates how many trees have been used to harvest the customer’s paper footprint. The footprint is then automatically reforested at reforestation projects all over the world. Customers can log onto the PrintReleaf website and choose where they would like trees to be planted. Additionally, users can track the progress of the forest over an eight-year period. Helping customers not only see the negative impact of their print, but also the opportunity to make amends for this waste, makes PrintReleaf a truly special tool.

This short list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of solutions that allow users to help the environment. In fact, a great deal of the products BLI covers offer some sort of functionality that helps save on paper, consumables, and energy. To read more about these and other offerings, check out our full software solutions coverage on bliQ.