Waste is a major detriment to quality of life worldwide. The World Bank estimates that consumers will generate 2.2 billion tons of waste per year by 2025.
But waste isn’t only a consumer problem. Waste is a manufacturer problem. It is a distributor problem. Waste is a problem for everyone, and organizations across the world are beginning to look for ways to reduce waste throughout the product lifecycle.
Conventionally-minded business analysts have long believed that companies have no commercial incentive to lengthen the life cycles of products because this would reduce their revenues, but this isn’t true. Changing cultural attitudes towards sustainability are turning sustainable business practices into opportunities to generate value. These benefits are not unique to big-name manufacturers like Lego, who has promised to exclusively use sustainable materials by 2030. It can be a major value driver for any business, in any industry.
Office-Based Environmental Impact is Significant
Offices have an important role to play in reducing global waste. The average office employee generates almost two pounds of mixed paper waste per day and uses about 10,000 sheets of paper every year. Offices also generate a great deal of plastic waste. Electronic waste and print consumables all contribute to overall waste, and additionally drag back potential cost-saving efficiencies that recycling could produce.
Every year, businesses and enterprises dispose of about 375 million toner and ink cartridges. That’s nearly a million tons of waste for a product that is not only easy to recycle and remanufacture, but actually produces value for those who do so.
Offices that pay attention to the ways they can derive value from environmental initiatives have the most to gain – and to offer – in today’s sustainability-oriented business environment. One of the key ways that organizations can do this is by choosing the right workflow services.
Eco-Friendly Workflow Solutions Can Improve Sustainability
It’s unreasonable to expect a small or a mid-sized business to take complete control of its sustainability initiatives the way global enterprises do. Without the resources of a global enterprise at its disposal, it is unlikely that any small business would generate value from recycling its paper products or print cartridges on its own.
But enterprise-level sustainability is within reach of even the smallest organizations. Workflow services and third-party managed service vendors are a critical part of this equation. This works much in the same way managed service vendors capitalize on economies of scale when providing technology services at rates far lower than in-house alternatives. A managed print vendor has more to gain by remanufacturing used toner cartridges than a single office building, because managed print vendors focus exclusively on deriving value from print-related processes.
The economies of scale that reputable workflow solutions vendors enjoy allows them to implement sustainable business practices otherwise out of reach to all but the largest organizations. Organizations rely on the vendor’s recycling and remanufacturing infrastructure rather than building and deploying their own.
Consider the fact that remanufactured print cartridges can offer OEM-quality prints at a cost of less than 70% of a brand-new cartridge. The economic incentive to stop wasting used cartridges is there – it just needs to be capitalized upon by organizations looking for sustainable opportunities to reduce costs and improve productivity.
Workflow Solutions Reduce Energy Usage and Carbon Footprint
In addition to the cost-saving advantage of being able to readily recycle paper and plastic materials used during day-to-day business processes, workflow solutions provide organizations options for reducing their energy usage and carbon footprint.
The main reason for this is the fact that cloud-based resources enjoy higher rates of value-generating usage than in-house equipment. If a business invests in costly in-house server architecture and then only uses the equipment during peak periods, it produces waste the rest of the time it remains on and ready to perform work that doesn’t come.
Managed network service providers, on the other hand, have a clear economic incentive to optimize their asset usage throughout their client base. If a particular customer isn’t using a great deal of network infrastructure at the moment, it will be dedicated to another customer who needs it – there is less downtime and more efficiency overall.
Put Your Company on the Path to Environmental Sustainability
Signing a contract with a workflow solutions provider can offer significant benefits to process sustainability. Workflow software constantly monitors traffic and asset usage, ensuring that the environmental impact of workflow solutions remains optimal.
Reducing the amount of paper your organization uses is just the first step. Managed print and other workflow solutions combine to produce synergistic benefits between your resource usage profile and your ability to scale processes to meet peak demand.
It’s time for your organization to take control of wasteful business practices. Contact the team at Zeno Solutions and learn how you can turn your processes around.