How Xerox does green

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Ever heard someone refer to a copy as a Xerox?  That’s probably because for decades – starting in 1961 – Xerox dominated the copier industry.  Some would say they continue to do so seeing as this $17.8 million company has been around for over 100 years and is “the world’s leading document management technology and services enterprise.”

But how is a company that is so invested in laser printing and copying – a technology that uses notorious toner – making a difference on the environment front?

Because, Xerox has taken the stance that “sustainability can no longer be viewed as a cost of doing business, but as a way of doing business.”  In that vein, the company is focused on four goals to further sustainability: Climate protection, preserving biodiversity and forests, preserving clean air and water, and preventing and managing waste.


Energy Challenge 2012
Xerox works internally to change as much as they do externally.  The company is apart of the U.S. EPA Climate Leaders program and launched the internal energy cutting program Energy Challenge 2012 in 2002.   The goal was originally to reduce the company’s absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent from their 2002 levels by the year 2012.  However, Xerox reduced their greenhouse emissions 18 percent company wide by 2006 so it was decided to take Energy Challenge 2012 to the next level.

The new goal – set in 2007 – is to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in 2012, instead of the original 10 percent goal set in 2002.  So far, the company has cut emissions by 21 percent.  That is the equivalent of 108,000 tons of carbon dioxide. 

Xerox has also reduced internal energy consumption by 19 percent since Energy Challenge 2012 began in 2002.

Meeting Energy Star requirements
Xerox introduced the first imaging product with an automatic power-down mode nearly ten years before the EPA started the Energy Star Office Equipment program (talk about ahead of the curve).

In 1993, Xerox became an EPA Charter Partner and over the last decade and half have introduced more than 500 products that were Energy Star compliant based on the standards of the time. 

More recently, the EPA decided to toughen the Energy Star standards again and on April 1, 2007 they introduced the new standard.  Before, the criteria for copiers, printers and multifunction systems only measured power consumption in standby and low-power modes.  Now, the EPA measures the energy consumed by a device during a typical week in a normal office. 

These new requirements were so stiff that only 25 per of current products were expected to meet the new standard but 80 percent of Xerox’s 2007 released products actually met the new standard.  They also hope to have 90 percent of new product introductions meet this standard in 2010.

Consulting and Product Features
Xerox will also provide consulting and outsourcing services to large offices which in turn can help customers reduce waste and save energy.  Often companies can save money just by upgrading to a few multifunction devices in lieu of the multiple single devices a normal office might have plugged in around the building.  Find out how to Create a Green Office OR Create a Green Print Shop.

Many of Xerox’s products include standard features such as Power-down and sleep mode to help conserve energy and save consumers and offices money.  But they won’t help if not used.  Find out if you are the Office’s Green Offender.


Xerox invents duplexing
These days so many office machines have built-in duplexing – 2-sided printing – standard that I think many consumers take it for granted.  But forty years ago such a feature wasn’t available commercially until, in 1969, Xerox introduced the first 2-sided business copier.

Thanks to Xerox, millions of people have been able to save paper – and money – by using this handy feature whether they own a Xerox laser printer, a Canon Pixma printer, a HP Laserjet printer, etc.

The Nature Conservancy Partnership
Xerox believes in cutting back on paper by sourcing paper for resale, using materials efficiently and promoting forests.  So to this end, a partnership with The Nature Conservancy makes perfect sense.

The partnership focuses on forest management in Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and the United States and identifying/promoting practices that enable everyone involved in the paper industry to work toward sustainable forest management.

Other goals include: strengthening sustainable forest management standards through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), deployment of the Canadian Boreal Data Centre, and conservation work in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.

And it is all possible thanks to the three-year, $1 million grant from Xerox.

Sustainable Products
Xerox sells a High Yield Business Paper that uses half the trees as conventional paper as well as paper products certified by the FSC.

Consumers can also receive counseling on new document services Xerox offers that can transfer memos, documents, etc. over a network, decreasing the need to print.  Check out Five Paper Tips from Xerox.


RoHS Standards and Xerox
Before RoHS standards made their way across the ocean (RoHS was initially put in place by the European Union) Xerox had decided they needed to use less harmful chemicals in their products while reducing harmful emissions.

Since 1991, Xerox reduced emissions of particulates and toxics by 94 percent in manufacturing operations and has almost eliminated lead and mercury from all new products.  They are striving to eliminate both materials completely from new products in the future.

In 2007, all new products launched are designed to meet RoHS requirements in all markets

Xerox Dry Ink
Xerox dry ink toner is non-toxic – despite media reports that might state otherwise – and does not generate hazardous waste.  Plus, Xerox toners are free of petroleum distillates, a combustible oil waste.


Xerox Green World Alliance
The Xerox Green World Alliance was established in the early 1990’s and is “central to Xerox’s commitment to waste-free products.”  Customers that want to recycle toner and containers for free – thanks to a partnership with UPS – can print labels online for an individual cartridge or a bulk toner cartridge shipment.

In 2007, more than 1.9 million cartridges and toner containers were returned. Xerox also processed 1.2 million pounds of post-consumer waste toner for reuse and has recycled almost 100,000 return waste toner bottles.

What does Xerox do with all the returned products?  They are cleaned, inspected and then remanufactured or recycled.  The remanufacture cartridges – made with up to 90 percent  reused or recycled parts – are built and tested with the same performance specifications as new products.

Solid ink technology
In 2000, Xerox became the sole manufacturer of solid ink printers, a cartridge-free technology consisting of resin based ink sticks that resemble a large crayon.  Because solid ink is cartridge free, waste is reduced by 90% compared to equivalent lasers.

Some people may have problems with the print speeds of the Xerox Phaser 8560 and 8860 but thanks to the recently released Xerox ColorQube, those complaints may be the thing of the past.

Xerox has always been a company that sees the value in producing new technology that not only makes lives easier but better so who knows what we might see from them in the future,  But thanks to the efficient new technology Xerox has already created as well as the good works they’ve done, we know this is one company that is determined to help our environment. 

For more information on Xerox and their sustainability efforts, you can read their 2008 Global Citizenship Report

Check out the Xerox Sustainability calculator for information on identifying typical waste in offices; recommendations on energy, paper, water, and air conservation; and how to effectively control waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Or get more information on the Xerox Green World Alliance and the Xerox recycling program.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Green Print Solutions or visit our Earth Day 2010 roundup.



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