Today, most of us are taking responsibility for the environmental impact our choices make on the world.  In our personal space, we recycle everything from old cell phones to cereal boxes. Just as commercial and residential building contractors are integrating sustainable or recycled materials in homes and offices they build, so should businesses have a similar social and ethical responsibility to the environment.  While most companies ask their employees to recycle everyday items like their plastic water bottles, certain measures should also be taken to recycle larger pieces such as office equipment.

When purchasing a copy machine, it is important to consider the environmental effects copier will have throughout its life cycle in regards to manufacturing, packaging, usage, shipping and disposal.  Let’s consider that for each 50-story commercial building in America there were five companies per floor, each with four copy machines. That is a total of 1,000 copy machines per building. Now if one were to take that number and multiply it by the number of commercial buildings in the United States, that is an outrageous number of copy machines! If only 1,000 of those companies were to purchase used copiers, or donate their used ones when purchasing new or leased copiers, imagine the ‘green’ impact that could have on the environment!

Buying a pre-owned copy machine eliminates the need to purchase the raw materials needed for producing a new copier, which in effect reduces the end-users carbon footprint.  If one were to consider the amount of carbon produced through manufacturing and shipping a new machine, purchasing a pre-owned one makes perfect sense.

Purchasing used copiers reduces wasteful dumping of perfectly serviceable machines.  It takes decades, at the very minimum, for the plastic material that houses an ink cartridge to decompose. It’s important that printer ink be disposed of properly because it is non-biodegradable and toxic to the environment.  Purchasing a used copier ensures that a copier does not end up in a landfill– in effect, reducing waste.

No matter what brand of used copier you buy, be sure to keep your office ‘green’ by purchasing one that features the ENERGY STAR label.  According to the EPA, using an ENERGY STAR copier can reduce that machine’s annual electricity usage by nearly 60 percent by shutting off after a period of inactivity.  High-speed copiers have a duplexing option that when set to double-sided copies can reduce paper usage by at least 25%.

If your copier is not ready for the landfill, recycling it is a good place to start.  If it is ready to retire, buying a used copier is unquestionably the ‘green’ approach to replacing it.