And -- let’s face it -- it’s mostly because people are printing stuff from the Internet left and right. The “print” button has become ubiquitous through the Web and users are happy to irresponsibly click on it anytime they want something printed out – even if they don’t really need the whole thing on paper. In many respects, the simplicity and ease of using the “print” command has only made us less conscious of how much paper we are using: It takes much less effort – and as a result much less thought – to simply click “print” in order to get 25 copies of a document than it does to take the document to a copy machine and print copies “manually.” Here’s another example: It used to be that when you went to your local library you would go and find the book you needed, put it on a copy machine and copy a few pages. Today, people are finding the book they need online and printing the entire thing – whether they need every page or not. Indeed, we now live in a society where “paper abuse” has become an even greater problem, if not simply because of the ubiquitous nature of “print” buttons, which seem to be everywhere you go on the Internet these days. (Maybe we need more buttons that say “Stop. Think Before You Print. Do You Really Need it on Paper?”)
Helping companies to get a better handle on their paper usage is South Florida-based Equitrac Corporation. The company offers software that tracks office equipment output activity, enabling businesses, schools, government agencies and other organizations to eliminate paper waste and control costs relating to document production. Equitrac accomplishes this by helping organizations get a better handle on the “who,” “what” and “how” of printing and copying in the corporate environment. Equitrac not only sees this as a way for organizations to do their part in improving the health of our planet, but also as a major step in controlling costs and eliminating waste.
According to a recent article published in the Miami Herald, Equitrac has been seeing a surge in customers recently, as consciousness about “green” initiatives, including “green technology,” have been foremost on people’s minds. Driving this, of course, is the whole “green” movement which is now underway – this in response to recent scientific reports illustrating to the global warming trend and the new focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. This, in turn, has put more pressure on companies to become eco-friendly – and many businesses are now embracing this concept not only because it saves on operational expense but also because it has a positive effect on corporate image and public perception.
Recently, Equitrac became involved in the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge, an initiative that encourages law offices to reduce paper consumption and waste. The company even went so far as to offer a 10 percent discount on products for law firms that were willing to take the challenge.
Equitrac started off with a focus on serving law firms and today about one-third of its 15,000 customers are in the legal field. In 2005 the company launched a website (www.endprintwaste.com) to target the education sector and now it sells its software to numerous universities to cut back on excess student printing on campus.
“I think environmental awareness is really foremost in people's minds today,” Michael R. Rich, Equitrac president and chief executive, was quoted as saying in the Miami Herald report, published in September. “Whereas 10 or 15 years ago, while it was a concern, it certainly didn't have as much mind share as it does today. People are being extremely diligent in terms of their use of energy, paper and other natural resources that are of critical importance. The things that we do play into that broad theme and also help people take tangible action in terms of making a difference in reducing their waste. So we feel very good about that.”
Rich added that many businesses are now talking openly about their green objectives, whereas this wasn’t the case even just a few years ago.
“You hear companies saying ‘it’s our goal to reduce our energy or electricity consumption by 10 percent in the next five years,’” he said in the report. “These are huge corporate objectives that are really getting a lot of publicity nowadays.”
As such, Equitrac has shifted from being a hardware only company to being a hardware/software company with an ongoing mission to help organizations reduce paper consumption while at the same time gaining new efficiencies.
“Over the last four years we've experienced something close to a 30 percent year-over-year growth rate in the enterprise and education markets,” Rich said.
For more information about Equitrac, visit www.equitrac.com. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this company and its goal of helping every business become a “green business” in the months and years to come.