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Look, it’s a printer cartridge! So what? Just another mundane office supply that will serve its purpose and then die a forgettable death.

This may be the reaction of many people at the office, but it’s not a wise one. Printer cartridges are complex devices built with complex technology.

In a past article, we provided these eye-opening statistics about ink and toner:

Each ink nozzle in a printer cartridge is 1/7th the diameter of a human hair

The average toner cartridge contains more than 80 components

An inkjet cartridge can fire more than 1,120 ink droplets simultaneously per second

Printer cartridges are also not cheap, and I’m sure you know this by now. But to gain more perspective, know that printer ink costs an average of 50 dollars an ounce (much more than gasoline, which costs four cents an ounce).

Printer cartridges are not mundane office supplies, to say the least, but objects that Elon Musk would want to both study and invest in!

Therefore, it’s a good idea to give your ink and toner printer cartridges care, especially when considering that well-maintained cartridges usually lead to smoothly running printers.

Here are some suggestions.

Storing printer cartridges

We recommend that all our ink and toner products are stored at temperatures between -4 Fahrenheit and 104 Fahrenheit. These specifications may seem not important to printer cartridge care — or not apply to workspaces outside of Santa’s workshop or Sauron’s lair — but we’ve seen mechanic and manufacturer clients wonder why their cartridges exploded or don’t work when stored in shop closets on a hot summer day.

Also, printer cartridges should avoid sunlight and humidity, stored on level surfaces, and only leave their packaging right before it’s their time to heroically serve the printer.

Installing printer cartridges

Obviously, there are many ways to insert ink and toner into an imaging device. Instructions should always be available in the product packaging.

Here is one of our videos that provides a visual on how to install a printer cartridge:

Printer cartridge issues

Sometimes a printer cartridge will dry up if there is a considerable pause in printing — no need to have Elon Musk drive up in a Tesla to fix it.

We suggest, first, obtaining two pieces of paper towels, one damp and one wet. Take out your ink cartridge and blot it onto the damp paper towel a few times – with the printhead side down. After blotting the printhead, hold the cartridge against a dry paper towel for about 30 seconds to a minute. This action should dissipate the dried ink clogging the head. Repeat this process if you’d like, and then slide the cartridge back into your printer and run a test print.

It should be noted that using paper towels only works with integrated cartridge heads, and not with the type that utilizes cartridges that pop into a printhead built into the printer.

Regardless, don’t forget that many printers today have a clean cycle or can warn you if the issue goes beyond a congested printhead. And it’s always sensible to open your printer and check inside for any jammed or broken parts.

Prolong your printer cartridges

This might even confound Elon Musk, but printing regularly keeps your cartridges primed (and avoids those clogs we just addressed).

To get the most out that Tesla-priced toner and give your cartridge care, we also recommend these tips:

Print in draft mode mundane documents like emails or meeting notes.

Restrict colour printing to only necessary documents like graphics or marketing collaterals (printing in colour typically costs five to seven times more than printing in monochrome).

Update to the latest software and drivers as often as possible. This will keep your printer in a good working condition and reduce stress to your printer cartridges.

Turn off your printer when you can — like at the end of the workday or beginning of a holiday — as it’s always churning out heat that can eventually dry up cartridges. As a bonus, turning off your printing saves money; statistics state that printer power consumption can account for up to seven percent of an organisation’s total electricity consumption.

Lastly and very important: just like your car (or Elon Musk’s Tesla), the low indicator on a printer doesn’t mean it’s going empty at any second. With most printing devices, the indicator appears when there is approximately 20 percent toner left in the cartridge tank. Therefore, ride that cartridge hard until it’s empty, although an indicator is always a good warning to make sure you’re stocked with a backup.

Give your printer cartridges a good funeral (recycle!)

Every year more than 375 million empty printer cartridges end up in landfills – which amounts to approximately one million cartridges every day. Consider too that an estimated 1.3 billion printer cartridges are sold each year. Making things worse, your average printer cartridge takes about 1000 years to decompose.

Check our video on the effects of printing on the environment:

In short, recycle and recycle.

Of course, recycling is not an easy task for many office products. When it comes to printer products, though, you can proactively recycle by leveraging third-party or remanufactured cartridges. We’re proud that a large amount of our ink and toner cartridges are recycled (as well as proud of our recycling program). Furthermore, statistics say that remanufactured ink or toner cartridges have a 46 percent lower carbon footprint than a new cartridge.

Whether you’re a Silicon Valley tycoon or an office manager, taking care of your printer cartridges leads to fewer printer interruptions and improved budget. It doesn’t take that much work either. So please embrace these suggestions and then pop open the bubbly – especially when you realize that an ounce of luxury champagne is cheaper than an ounce of printer ink!

Need quality ink and toner at costs below big brand cartridges? With free delivery for business customers? Contact a local Cartridge World today.

Real-life offices aren’t like the television show “The Office.” Surely not. They are more logical and functional.

Right?

I’m sure many will clap back at this remark, and many will be right considering how every office is unique and every human being is unique.

But what is certainly dysfunctional like “The Office” is how many offices overlook sensible supply practices — which causes product waste, productivity waste, and environmental waste. That’s a lot of “wasted” opportunities, especially when it comes to printing (often the highest business cost behind rent and utilities).

So, let’s turn “The Office” reality into a distant fantasy by following these eco-friendly printing tips.

1. Create an office print policy

Ninety percent of offices, according to one study, don’t employ a formal print policy (and I’m sure that includes the television show). Just as bad, two-thirds of businesses don’t track printing expenses. And this is a world where management is commonly tasked to control the office thermostat and coffee consumption. Why not printing?

You can quickly craft a procedure that addresses issues like toner ordering guidelines, when to print in colour, and where to store discarded printed documents. Just as good, you can alternatively download our Office Printing Policy.

2. Track your office printer usage

Having a print policy is awesome, but it’s only half the battle of not becoming “The Office.” You must optimize your printing environment. After all, U.S companies spend more than $120 billion each year on printing at an average cost of $725 per person.

How do you track printer usage, though?

Beyond NSA-type surveillance, not desirable for any company that wants to keep its employees, printer monitoring can automatically and digitally track toner levels and every paper printed, offering concise metrics at the push of a button. These days, printer monitoring is safe and secure. Our printer monitoring is complimentary and with features to help your office become eco-friendly but do your homework to see what’s out there.

3. Consider a managed print service

In this gig/digital economy, anything can be outsourced for profitable results. Why not your printing environment? Partnering with a provider of Managed Print Services (MPS) puts printer issues in the hands of a dedicated expert, allowing others in the office to focus on their jobs. What’s more, an effective managed print services can reduce business costs by 20-30 percent, not to mention increase network security and sustainability.

Like printer monitoring, our managed print services are no-cost, if you buy our printer products. We just really believe in our printer products.

4. Don’t just throw used print cartridges away

Most empty printer cartridges end up in the trash. This is partly why every year more than 375 million empty, non-biodegradable, and often-toxic printer cartridges end up in landfills (and consider the average worker prints 10,000 pages a year, which mostly don’t get recycled).

That’s grim news, especially considering that sustainability is positive for branding, employee happiness, and business growth. At Cartridge World, we help offices become eco-friendly with several green initiatives, and you can find ways to print greener with our Green Office Printing Guide. The key is to do something about instilling sustainability practices in your office.

By doing something, I would not recommend like in “The Office”:

5. Leverage energy saving mode for your printers

While we’re on the eco-friendly, saving energy is saving money and your community. Printers are electricity black holes. Printer power consumption can account for up to seven percent of an organization’s total electricity consumption — even if only 15 percent of printer electricity usage is attributed to printing!

Turn your printers off at the end of the day and during business hours, and for all electronics, don’t confuse a screen saver for sleep mode. Power is still draining. Ensure computers switch to sleep mode when inactive for some time, and this goes as well for printers, monitors, and other office equipment.

6. Take advantage of print driver default settings to save costs

Most of today’s printer drivers have neat default setting options to help your office save costs. A popular default setting to save on toner cartridges is printing in black and white/draft mode instead of high-quality (reasonable to execute if a document is just for internal use).

Setting driver defaults is easy, even for characters in “The Office.”

7. Know what printer should do what

If you have several printers, think of them as team members with their own skills. Typically, the more expensive the printer, the cheaper the cost per page to print. Small desk jet printers are more suited for colour documents, but when it comes to plain old black and white, they tend to cost 5 to 20 times more than printing on a bigger device.

Let your monster printers in the office do the monster printing, while the small guy can take care of more “artsy” documents.

8. Load Paper Right

But it’s just paper!

That’s true, but a mosquito at night while you’re trying to sleep becomes more than just an “insect.” Poorly loaded paper may result in (*drum roll*) paper jams! Most reams of paper make it extremely easy for people to understand how to properly load the printer, such as including an arrow on the packaging to instruct which way is up.

Just ask any character in “The Office” on the importance of paper, since it’s set in a fictional paper sales company, Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc.

Watch our video below to see how to load paper.

9. Spruce your printer

Maybe printers are not as attractive as new sports cars, but they do require a bit of TLC to last. No need for intense Karate Kid “wax on, wax off.” By just giving your printing devices regular cleaning and maintenance, your office could be eco-friendlier.

Spring home office cleaning presents a good opportunity to tune up printers.

Here’s a simple procedure:

After you’ve unplugged your printer, wipe down the exterior of the printer with a damp cloth to remove dust. Open your printer and employ a soft, microfiber cloth and isopropyl alcohol solution to clean the interior. Do not use compressed air, as this will push the debris to places you will be unable to reach.

Many printers also have an auto-clean setting for their print heads, so take advantage of that.

Ever had streaks appear on your documents? Here is what to do about it:

10. Watch out for those low toner warnings

The truth is that after a toner warning light comes up, many printer cartridges still have up to 25 percent toner in the tank. This could equate to an extra 400-500 pages if you keep that same cartridge. It’s always great to have cartridge or toner backups, but drain your current cartridge all the way, baby.

With these office supply practices, centring on printing, you’ll be less like “The Office” and more like “Mad Men.” And beyond better sustainability and productivity, your office will have more funds for pizza parties and the softball league. That’s no sitcom.

Implementing a good print policy is something that many offices fail to do. This oversight can lead to a lot of wasted toner, paper and profit. Not having a print policy in place allows anyone in your organization to print anything, at any time, which can really add up (colour prints can cost between 10 to 80 cents each depending on the printer that is used). Having a policy in place can help cut these costs and improve your bottom line.

If you are considering tightening the printing rules in your workplace, here are six tips to help:

Put a print policy in place
Set defaults on your print drivers
Consider a Managed Print Program
Print black and white more often
Be selective about what you print
Print colour on the “right” colour device
Let’s take a closer look…

Put a Print Policy in Place – A print policy is a list of rules that you put in place for employees to follow. There may be separate rules for different departments depending on their printing needs. Print policies can restrict things like colour printing and enforce double-sided printing to save on costs. Usually, even the mention of a print policy will help reduce printing in the workplace by up to 10%.

Set Defaults on Your Print Drivers – This is a quick and easy solution to ensure all prints are double-sided and/or black and white only. Different settings can also be implemented to make other functions a default setting on your printer. It’s fast and easy to do. For example, reducing the size of the margins on the documents you print can have an impact on how much you spend on printing. According to Penn State Green Destiny Council, you can save 5 percent more paper by reducing the print margins from 1.25 inches to 0.75 inches. Keep in mind that most printers come with default settings that encourage the use of consumables, so take a moment and check the user settings in your office.

Consider a Managed Print Program – A good Managed Print Program is different from a print policy because it adds the benefits of technology to properly manage your print-related assets and activities. End users also enjoy proactive supply and service fulfilment rather than having to order toner or place a service call when it’s too late! Managed Print Programs have proven to save companies both money and hassle—some companies have even claimed to save up to 30% in printing costs. A Managed Print Program can also help your office reduce waste and can go far in helping you to achieve your environmental goals with a greener print strategy.

Use Black and White – Colour printing is a luxury that many departments don’t really need. Many clients don’t expect full colour documents either. A smarter choice is to use black and white printing for internal documents and use colour sparingly and only where needed to enhance a customer facing document. The savings is considerable because black and white prints only require one cartridge while colour printers require four different toners to be combined to produce an image.

Be Selective About What You Print – One of the simplest ways you can save on printing costs – particularly anything you plan to print in colour – is taking a second to consider whether a physical copy of the document in necessary. Particularly if you’re sharing files over email or through a cloud communications service, there’s likely no need to print off a hard copy. However, if it’s your habit to hit “Ctrl+P” every time you want to store a file, consider using the Print to PDF function. From that point, you’re able to save the document in a more secure, shareable format that prevents others from altering it. Similarly, when printing documents from the internet, like a specific company landing page that you may be adjusting, be sure to pay attention to how many pages the document will end up being printed and select only the ones you need.

Print Colour on the “Right” Colour Device – Office printers are no different than automobiles in the sense that some get better gas mileage than others. Printing colour on small ink jet printers is perhaps the costliest, and your cost per page is typically less the larger the print device. Routing your colour print volumes to the most “economical” colour printer can cut your cost per letter size page by a nickel or more.

Taking advantage of these six simple tips will go far in reducing print related waste, lowering your printing costs and making your office a much greener place to be.

Cartridge World aims to help you learn the importance of colour printing costs. Contact your local Cartridge World today to talk with an expert today!

3 Top Benefits of Wireless Printing

There are many benefits of wireless printing. It offers users increased flexibility by allowing them to print from multiple devices and from different locations. Here are three of the top advantages of using a wireless printer:

1.Avoid Networking Hassles – Networking entails connecting your computer, laptop or other electronic device to a printer. This is oftentimes done using different wires and cables that run between your computer and printer. As more people and devices are networked to your printer, you will need to continue adding wires and cables. These get tangled easily and can pose a safety hazard. Wireless printing uses Wi-Fi to connect all your devices with multiple users, eliminating the need for any wires.

2.Be Truly Mobile – Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of wireless printing is the mobility it allows. Using a traditional printer requires you to be close enough for the networking cable to reach the printer and your device. With wireless printing, you can print from wherever you are. Multiple people can also print at the same time. The connected printer will organize each print job in its queue, making it quick and easy for you to get your document printed anytime.

3.Embrace Web-based Printing – More and more people are printing documents from cloud-based and online data storage centres. With traditional printers, the project needs to be downloaded from the Internet onto the device that is networked to the printer. With a wireless printer, the document is printed directly from the cloud without taking up storage space on your device.

Setting up a wireless printer is not as difficult as many people think, and its many advantages make the set-up worthwhile. Check out our infographic here to learn how to get started with wireless printing.

There is a popular saying that goes, “Go big or stay home.” In a business sense, it means that you should give it your all, think outside the box, and invest heavily to empower stakeholders.

The saying makes sense for brand success – except when it comes to imaging devices like printers or copiers. Then it’s more like John Hammond’s repetitive cry in Jurassic Park: “Spared no expense!”

I’m sure you recall what happened to Hammond’s expensive investment in the film…

Like Hammond, offices that are gripped by “Go big or stay home” end up purchasing large, complex machines in the hopes of getting a quality printer that will yield little downtime and seamlessly produce crisp documents.

And end up getting a printer that ends up like Jurassic Park.

How do you get a quality printer then?

By focusing on the out-of-box part of “Go big or stay home.”

GET THE RIGHT FIT

Forget all the promises and marketing out there from printer brands. Forget those “top printer” articles that lead to Amazon pages (most are just affiliate marketing links that throw kickbacks to the original website).

What your business needs is what we call a “Goldilocks’ printer.” In other words, a quality printer is a printer that is just right – that matches your unique workplace needs. A printer that is too small will compromise productivity and result in more breakdowns. A printer that is too powerful is a bad investment that results in wasted space, dried-up ink cartridges, and needless energy-consumption. What’s more, the “Goldilocks printer” may depend on whether you need:

Inkjet or a laser printer?

A copier or a printer?

Multifunction or just monochrome?

Some printers are more suited for specific verticals like the manufacturing industry, while others are perfect for a small business.

Yes, there is a lot to consider! And requires a bit of math.

Don’t worry. We provide an easy-to-follow framework in our eBook, How to Select the Right Printer.

GUIDE TO SELECTING THE RIGHT PRINTER

Furthermore, we suggest you take our Office Print Savings Calculator to begin understanding what that you “Goldilocks’ printer” might look like.

TREAT ANY PRINTER LIKE A BIG EXPENSE

Two cosmic laws never change: Messing with dinosaur DNA brings trouble, and your printer is going to break down. We can’t help you with dinosaur genetics, but we do know that printer downtime results in:

Employees wasting about 22 minutes a day on IT issues including printing— totalling up to 91 hours a year.

Service calls that can cost anywhere from $40-$330, and with multiple calls per month, this can add up.

Taking care of your printer reduces document interruption and keeps it tuned-up so that it’s always a quality printer. You can start by ensuring you have the best possible printer cartridges (and avoid counterfeits) so that your printer isn’t worn down or damaged. Even an action as mundane as loading paper can go a long way in reducing printer-destroying paper jams, as seen in this video:

We also propose regular printer cleaning, standby mode, and closing the manual tray when not in use.

THINK OF LIFECYCLE COSTS

The most reliable printer in the world isn’t a quality printer if it’s draining the budget. Even if you diligently take care of your printer, as mentioned in the last section, there are going to be expenses.

Printer industry thought leaders know that people need to think beyond the printer itself and consider the “Lifecycle Cost” of acquiring AND operating a business printer. The operating costs, including service and printer cartridges, are far higher than the cost of the printer itself.

A typical lifecycle cost breakdown is:

60% Printer service and toner

40% Printer hardware

We provide complimentary maintenance and service with many of our printer solutions. Regardless of what route you take (options are provided in the next section), make sure you have a vision of what it’s going to cost to keep your printer working and working well.

Also, keep in mind this: the cheaper the printer, the more expensive the replacement printer cartridges are likely to be (printer brands follow the razor blade model: sell the handle cheap to lock consumers and then make up the costs by overcharging for razor cartridges).

FORGET TRADITIONAL MODELS FOR THAT QUALITY PRINTER

Unless you’ve been living under the ruins of Jurassic Park, you’ve noticed that we live an economy increasingly based on subscription-based services. Think of transportation (Uber), lodging (Airbnb), or movies (Netflix). The transactional model is no longer king.

Therefore, the days of committing to owning a printer or copy machine are no longer necessary. Offices can leverage leasing (but beware of their quicksand contracts), managed print services, cloud-based printing, or a paperless office (although we contend it’s more of a myth). In our case, we evolved with consumer demands: we provider printers and printer service/repairs at no cost if you just buy our toner and ink.

The principal point is that you don’t have to drop a lot of money on an imaging device. And with a printer partner that comes with managed print services or leasing, you can get the right advice to get that “Goldilocks’ printer” whether you end up owning it or not. If only Hammond had listened to his copy machine guy.

We hope this helps you think outside-the-box so that the next printer out of the box is a quality printer. You don’t have to break the bank but break the code of your printing and budget needs, with a view of future costs and productivity.

If you still feel this is all still on the daunting side, like a T-Rex chasing your across Jurassic Park, know that we provide complimentary and personal advice on how to get a quality printer for your office.