Environmentally Friendly photocopiers and other office equipment are crucial to workplace energy-saving and waste-reduction. Many measures (procedural and technical) have been implemented by equipment manufacturers, dealers and distributors – even before the government’s introduction of measures via legislation such as the WEEE directive. Additionally, all government departments and private enterprise organizations have become acutely aware in recent years of the need for the implementation of energy-efficiency measures – not least to address bottom-line profitability as well as the wider responsibility to reduce climate change.
Environmental Issues: Recycling and the WEEE Directive
Office equipment including photocopiers which previously ended up on landfill sites are no longer able to do so under the WEEE directive. The WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive affects those involved in the manufacture, selling and distribution, recycling or treating of any electronic equipment. Affected by the directive are household appliances, information technology equipment of all kinds , telephone/telecommunications equipment, audio visual gear, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, hospital and medical devices and automatic dispensers and of course, office equipment including photocopiers.
The aim of the WEEE directive is to reduce the waste generated from electrical and electronic equipment. The directive is also designed to ensure an improvement in the environmental procedures and processes of all those involved in the life cycle of electrical and electronic products. Manufacturers, sellers and distributors of office equipment are responsible for taking back and recycling electrical and electronic equipment. They are also required to achieve a series of rigorous recycling and recovery targets for different categories of appliance. Responsibilities can be discharged in a number of ways, including financial contributions.
Environmental Issues: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Fuel Consumption
Apart from computers and associated print devices, photocopiers are without doubt the most common items of office equipment in use today. Due to the need to be used “on demand”, they can incur a significant environmental cost in terms of energy and paper usage and consequent greenhouse gas emissions
Thus power management features are important for saving energy and an easy way to reduce air pollution. Energy efficient photocopiers provide a significant step towards reducing the environmental impact of office photocopiers. Such machines come provided with “energy saving” mode so that when not in use they “power down”. This feature alone can reduce the energy needed to support the machine in periods of low activity by over 60%.
A major energy-saving feature of the latest photocopiers are so-called “on demand” fusing systems. A thin fixing film, rather than a thick heating roller is used. Additionally, a ceramic heating element, rather than a halogen heater is used. With these twin innovations, the latest photocopiers operate with greatly improved energy efficiency and lower heat requirements. Heat is used only when paper is passed through the fixing mechanism and images are “fixed” via the fixing film. In addition to this, the new technology can allow the photocopier to make the change between a cool energy-saving “sleep mode” to full operating temperatures in less than 10 seconds. This is a major advantage over conventional systems, which typically take more than one minute.
Elements of this innovative system are available on the latest Konica Minolta bizbub series, including the bizhub C451. The induction heating fusing technology on the bizhub C451 is also one which minimises energy consumption and maximises energy efficiency, by fusing at a lower temperature.
Such technology is paving the way to increased energy efficiency – especially when coupled with an increase in the availability of “duplex” (paper-saving double-sided copying and printing) as standard.