Responsible Purchasing Network

Office Electronics: Definitions

This glossary includes key terms from the Guide and may be used as a companion to the text.


All-in-one (AIO) cartridge
A cartridge for imaging equipment that contains the toner and drum in one unit
Automatic duplexing Capability of an imaging device to automatically place images on both sides of an output sheet, without manual manipulation of output as an intermediate step; for example, one-sided to two-sided copying and two-sided to two-sided copying. A product is considered to have automatic duplexing only if the model includes all accessories needed to satisfy the above conditions.
Brominated flame retardants
Hormone disrupting chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) that are added to computers and imaging equipment to reduce the risk of fire; see also polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). 
Bioaccumulative, toxic metal included in electronic equipment
Consumables Materials used by imaging equipment such as toner, cartridges, and drums
A commercially-available imaging product whose sole function is the production of hard copy duplicates from graphic hard copy originals or from a network computer. The unit must be capable of being powered from a wall outlet or from a data or network connection. This definition is intended to cover products that are marketed as copiers or upgradeable digital copiers (UDCs).
Cost-per-copy contract
A contract whereby an organization purchases copy services rather than copying equipment; the contractor is responsible for providing imaging equipment, consumables, maintenance, training, and more, as per contract terms
Diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
Persistent and bioaccumulating chemicals used as flame retardants in plastics and polymer resins, see also polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
Multi-attribute environmental certification managed by the Government of Canada
End-of-life management
Process by which products are disposed of after their term of useful service expires
Energy efficiency standard manged jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy
Environmentally preferable
Products and services that have a reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose.
Facsimile machine (fax machine)  
A commercially-available imaging product whose primary functions are scanning hard copy originals for electronic transmission to remote units and receiving similar electronic transmissions to produce hard copy output. Electronic transmission is primarily over a public telephone system, but also may be via computer network or the Internet. The product also may be capable of producing hard copy duplicates. The unit must be capable of being powered from a wall outlet or from a data or network connection. This definition is intended to cover products that are marketed as fax machines.
Independent ANSI authorized standards developer focused on indoor air quality
Hazardous substance
1. Material posing a threat to human health and/or the environment, that can be toxic, corrosive, ignitable, explosive, or chemically reactive,  2. Substance that must be reported to the EPA if released into the environment. 
Imaging equipment Printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, multi-function devices, and other similar office equipment used for printing images and digitizeing hard copy images 
Ink jet (IJ)

A marking technology where images are formed by depositing colorant in small drops directly to the print media in a matrix manner. Color IJ is distinguished from monochrome IJ in that more than one colorant is available in a product at any one time.

Metal used in some imaging equipment that can damage the nervous system and cause blood and brain disorders
Mailing Machine
A device used in a letter shop to prepare mailings by inserting package components, applying addresses or address labels, applying postage, and sealing the envelopes.
Material used in some imaging equipment that causes short term and chronic nervous system impairment to exposed individuals
Multifunction device (MFD)
A commercially-available imaging product, which is a physically-integrated device or a combination of functionally-integrated components, that performs two or more of the core functions of copying, printing, scanning, or faxing. The copy functionality as addressed in this definition is considered to be distinct from single sheet convenience copying offered by fax machines. The unit must be capable of being powered from a wall outlet or from a data or network connection. This definition is intended to cover products that are marketed as MFDs or multifunction products (MFPs).
1. Ground level pollutant that causes respiratory damange, 2. Component of upper atmosphere that prevents ultraviolet sunlight from reaching the earth's surface
Small particles and liquid droplets that can be inhaled and cause respiratory and heart disease
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
A class of flame retardant chemicals added to plastics that can enter the environment but do not degrade quickly or easily, see also diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
Power Adapter
A power supply for an electronic device. Also called an "AC adapter" or a "charger" if used to recharge a battery, it plugs into the wall and converts AC current to a single DC voltage in most cases.

A commercially-available imaging product that serves as a hard copy output device, and is capable of receiving information from single-user or networked computers, or other input devices (e.g., digital cameras). The unit must be capable of being powered from a wall outlet or from a data or network connection.

Solid ink (SI)

A marking technology where the ink is solid at room temperature and liquid when heated to the jetting temperature. Transfer to the media can be direct, but is most often made to an intermediate drum or belt and then offset printed to the media.


Policy whereby equipment can be returned to a manufacturer, distributor, or recycler at the end of useful life. 

Toxic substance
A chemical or mixture that may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment
Volatile organic compound (VOC)
Organic compound that typically vaporizes at room temperature and participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions

Creative Commons License This work by the Responsible Purchasing Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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