Environmental Issues

Environmentally friendly photocopiers and other office equipment are crucial to workplace energy-saving and waste-reduction. A multitude of measures have been implemented by equipment manufacturers, dealers and distributors – even prior to the government’s introduction of measures via legislation such as the European WEEE directive. Additionally, all government departments and most private enterprise organisations have become acutely aware in recent years of the need for the implementation of energy-efficiency measures – not least to address bottom-line profitability but also to reduce their impact on local communities.

Environmental Issues: Recycling and the WEEE Directive

The fate of office equipment, including photocopiers which previously ended up buried in landfill sites,or processed in unregulated scrap yards, is now very different. The WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive effectively controls the actions of those involved in the manufacture, selling and distribution of electronic equipment. Affected by the directive are household appliances, information technology equipment of all kinds , telephone/telecommunications equipment, audio visual gear, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, hospital and medical devices and automatic dispensers and of course, office equipment including photocopiers.

The aim of the WEEE directive is to reduce the waste generated from electrical and electronic equipment. The directive is also designed to ensure an improvement in the environmental procedures and processes of all those involved in the life cycle of electrical and electronic products. Manufacturers, sellers and distributors of office equipment are responsible for recycling electrical and electronic equipment. They are also required to achieve a series of rigorous recycling and recovery targets for different categories of appliance. Responsibilities can be discharged in a number of ways, including financial contributions.

Environmental Issues: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Fuel Consumption

Apart from computers, photocopiers and print enabled devices are without doubt the most common items of office equipment in use today. Due to the need to be used “on demand”, they can incur a significant environmental cost in terms of energy and paper usage and consequent greenhouse gas emissions.

Thus power management features are important for saving energy and an easy way to reduce air pollution. Energy efficient photocopiers provide a significant step towards reducing environmental damage. Such machines incorporate “energy saving” modes as standard, so that when not in use they intelligently “power down”. This feature alone can reduce the energy needed to support the machine in periods of low activity by over 60%.

A significant leap forward in technological terms is “on demand” fusing systems. A thin fixing film, rather than a thick heating roller is used. Additionally, a ceramic heating element, rather than a halogen heater is used. With these twin innovations, the latest photocopiers operate with greatly improved energy efficiency and lower heat requirements. Heat is used only when paper is passed through the fixing mechanism and images are “fixed” via the fixing film. In addition to this, the new technology can allow the photocopier to make the change between a cool energy-saving “sleep mode” to full operating temperatures in less than 10 seconds. This is a major advantage over conventional systems, which typically take more than one minute. Elements of these innovative systems are most clearly evident in the latest Kyocera and Utax (Kyocera branded machines)

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