Sustainability in today’s small to medium sized business means more than just changing out the light bulbs in the office or carpooling. There are many other opportunities available for SMBs to reduce their total carbon footprint. Here are a few ideas to help you extend your commitment to sustainability to your document printing and management.

Be eco friendly, save resources1. Choose eco-friendly print vendors – vendor choice in the printing business was usually based on quality, speed, or price. Now other factors are being thrown into the mix, including finding a vendor who shares your commitment to sustainability.

2. Print only what you need – Sounds obvious right? But consider how many times you have sent a hard copy of a document or a presentation around for review. Then consider that UK-based Software Partners estimates that every typical 500-count ream of business paper consumes approximately 6% of a tree.

3. Measure twice, cut once – reduce the need for wasteful re-printing by detecting errors before the print job is executed. A University of Delaware publication indicated that 25% of all paper used each semester of Smith Hall computing site winds up in the recycling bin. While it is good they recycle, it still means more than 120 pounds of paper drafts go into the bin weekly. That’s nearly 600,000 sheets of paper per year from one building in one university.

4. Get your printing done on the go – Blackberries, smart phones and wireless laptops have given the small business person the freedom of mobility. But how do you get your printing done on the road? Let your fingers do the walking, and use the internet to find the print shop that is closest to where your documents need to be.  This eliminates the need for shipping which can have a far more significant environmental impact than you may consider.

Save paper5. Store and share your documents online – you can reach out to your road warriors to review a PowerPoint, or collaborate with your home office on a proposal without having to print and ship hard copies of the drafts.

6. Re-use paper – Many people prefer to read materials that are printed. Create a process within your organization to re-use the blank sides of printed materials for people who like to print out drafts, reducing the office’s total paper consumption.

These ideas are brought to you by Earthtone, a cutting-edge e-commerce platform that is set to revolutionize the way people shop for print services online.