Responsible Purchasing Network

Office Electronics: Handy Facts




  • According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, office equipment is responsible for up to 26 percent of energy use in a typical office building (The Cadmus Group, 2007).
  • Organizations spend up to 10 percent  of their annual revenues on document production (Hawkins, 2007).
  • Electronic waste currently comprises up to 5 percent  of U.S. municipal solid waste and is expected to increase by 3-5 percent  annually – nearly three times faster than the overall municipal waste stream (SVTC, 2004).
  • 40 percent  of lead and 70 percent  of heavy metals found in landfills, including mercury and cadmium, originates from discarded computers and other office electronics (SVTC, 2004).
  • According to the U.S. EPA, ENERGY STAR qualified imaging equipment uses 40 percent  less electricity than average models (EPA, 2006a).
  • Buying one machine with multiple functions can save over 150 percent  in costs compared to buying several single-function machines (CA, 2006a; EPA, 2006b).
  • About four million tons of copy paper is consumed annually in the U.S., with the average office worker using about 100 pounds of copy paper per year (Metro, 1999).
  • Double-sided copying can reduce paper use by up to 40 percent (MSWMCB, 2002a; MSWMCB, 2002b).
  • Duplexing saved Washington County, Minnesota over 10,000 sheets of paper and $57 in costs in one year, with two printers and 70 employees (MSWMCB, 2002b).
  • A typical toner cartridge contains: 40 percent  plastic; 40 percent  metal; and 20 percent  rubber, paper, foam, and toner. The plastic takes at least 1,000 years to decompose (ACWMA, 2004).
  • About 97 percent of toner cartridge components can be reused and recycled (ACWMA, 2004).
  • Remanufactured toner cartridges save purchasers 30-60 percent on a per copy basis compared to new cartridges (King County, 2008).
  • King County, Washington, saved $275,000 in one year by purchasing over 3,900 remanufactured cartridges that cost about half the price of new cartridges (King County, 2008).
  • It often takes up to 30 inkjet cartridges to produce the same output as a single laser printer cartridge (Cornelius, 2007).
  • Page coverage for color prints is typically higher than for monochrome ones, and the cost of color toner is sometimes 10 times higher than monochrome (Cornelius, 2007).

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