Document Printing by the Federal Government: Your Tax Dollars at...Risk!
Printers battle paper waste every day,
By Patrick Henry
Published: June 3, 2009
Printers battle paper waste every day, but the U.S. government apparently hasn’t heard that there’s a war on.
A recent study commissioned by Lexmark claims that one third of all documents printed by federal employees goes straight into the trash or recycling bins, costing taxpayers more than $440 million per year. According to the study, it breaks down like this:
• On average, each federal employee prints 30 pages each work day, totaling 7,200 pages per employee per year.
• Federal employees estimate that they immediately discard 35% of those pages the same day they are printed.
That’s 2,250 unnecessary pages per employee per year, or 6,572,593,440 waste pages annually.
The conclusion: “When in their agencies’ offices, federal employees print without restraint.”
The study, based on a survey of 380 government employees, also found that younger federal employees print and discard paper at about the same rate as their baby-boomer colleagues. So much for the supposedly greater environmental awareness of Gen-Y workers, at least when they’re on the public payroll.
In fairness, though, federal workers of all ages realize that something could and ought to be done:
• 89% report that their agencies do not have formal printing policies in place.
• 69% believe that their agencies’ paper trails could be converted to digital trails.
• 64% acknowledge that they could print less.
The study, widely cited in the media, is sure to become fodder for government watchdog groups. It recommends more duplex printing, converting more documents to digital files in lieu of hard copy, and holding employees accountable for their printing habits.
On June 24, Lexmark will follow through with a free webinar on how agencies can eliminate unnecessary printing by transforming employees’ printing practices. Register for it here.