Submitted by Breanna Banford, social marketing specialist, Xerox Enterprise Business Group

Lately, it seems that businesses and employees are shying away from printing for fear that they’re wreaking havoc on the environment. In 2010, IDC reported that over 60% of large enterprises planned initiatives to reduce paper document volume (IDC report). Every page not printed makes a difference – less waste! It’s easier to print less because we have access to an electronic copy of almost everything we read on a daily basis giving us the freedom to read documents on our laptops, phones, tablets and so on.

Recently, in a WSJ opinion blog Chuck Leavell and Carlton Owen responded to the “to print or not to print” debate. Their argument: PRINT! This may seem surprising as Owen boasts the position of CEO for U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and Leavell is a tree farmer and environmentalist. But – they argue that it’s OK to print because “paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees.” In my opinion, that’s a good argument as long as people remember to recycle their printed documents after they’re no longer needed.

As we all know, Xerox is an honorable print technology provider. Part of our business is to promote printing, but the key factor is that we encourage responsible printing. Green blogger and author, Andrew Winston, discusses “The Big Heresy” in a recent article. He explains that Xerox works with customers to help them print less. It seems like a controversial situation for a print provider to ask that of their customer, yet sustainable thinking drives every business decision. Xerox works hard every day to research and develop new technology that has less impact on the environment (i.e. ColorQube and solid ink technology and managed print services).

At Xerox we often wonder what other people think about printing. About a year ago, Xerox posted a video on YouTube asking people on the street – Is printing good or bad?

The commentary varies.  We all know and love the tangible aspects that come with a hard copy document. But, we also understand that printing too much can be wasteful. The point Xerox wants to emphasize is that everything we do has an impact and it’s important to be conscious of your actions. One thing to always remember – if you print… always recycle!

So in light of Earth Day, what do you think? Is printing good or bad?