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Print Is A Lot Greener Than You Think

February 5, 2021
Read Time 1 mins

Businesses across the world are working hard to reduce their environmental footprint and with good reason. One great way to start is with printing habits. Environmentally responsible and sustainable printing practices should form part of every business’s eco-consciousness. Let's take a look at the ecological footprint of print.


Bernice Hynard, print solutions manager, Tarsus Distribution

 Paper is Sustainable To Print On

There’s a misconception that paper manufacturing causes deforestation. In fact, paper is a sustainable product as it is made from renewable resources, and it’s biodegradable. The wood used to make paper is grown in sustainable, managed forests. What causes deforestation is the need for timber, mining, agriculture expansion, and infrastructure development. The South African pulp and paper manufacturing sector is recognised globally as a sustainable and well-regulated industry.

Low Obsolescence

Multi-function printers (MFPs) have a smaller footprint and generally have a longer life cycle than many other types of hardware, such as laptops, for example. They are robust and they stay in one place, giving them low obsolescence. The firmware on which they operate can easily be updated or upgraded online.

Energy Efficiency In Print

In line with market demands, printer manufacturers have developed MPFs that are more energy-efficient than ever, and certainly consume far less power than a notebook.

Print Cartridge Recycling

Activated toner powder leftover when recycling cartridges can be reused as a high-quality pigment.

In addition, companies have been promoting the recycling of used printer cartridges for years. Unfortunately, many used toner cartridges are put into the trash and end up in a landfill.

Businesses that choose to dispose of toner cartridges responsibly can do so through several collection programmes, but the challenge is that toner cartridges are made from more difficult-to-recycle plastics. Because manufacturers use different plastics, it’s also not always possible to granulate the plastics from different cartridges together.

Where plastic granulation is an option, another challenge is how to turn that into useful secondary products in ways that are financially viable.

Tarsus Distribution is investigating two possible solutions:

  1. Developing a reverse logistics strategy for management of used toner cartridge returns, ensuring that they are disposed of appropriately; and
  2. Reaching out to potential partners who are keen to take recycled plastic and manufacture new plastic products.

If you are interested in partnering with Tarsus Distribution and developing uniquely South African solutions for recycling, please contact us for more information.

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