Both cost-conscious and environmentally conscious organizations are striving to do more with less these days. The rationale is simple: Investing in more energy-efficient hardware, for example, means lower energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint. Adjusting delivery routes to be more efficient means less fuel consumption, which again saves money while reducing an organization's environmental impact.
The printer room is by no means immune to the benefits of green tech. We're seeing more Energy Star-compliant printers that consume fewer watts. Most, if not all, print vendors let admins set machines to print dual-sided copies by default, which can effectively cut paper bills nearly in half. Moreover, software companies such as Equitrac and GreenPrint offer solutions to help reduce printouts of superfluous pages that, at best, would end up in the recycling bin.
Now Xerox has raised the green-printing bar another level for the business world by eliminating one of the most wasteful aspects of printing: the ink cartridge. With the introduction of its ColorQube 9200 series of A3-size MFPs, Xerox delivers a less expensive -- and a far more environmentally friendly -- alternative to laser printing.
The concept behind the ColorQube is pretty straightforward: The ink comes in the form of small sticks, resembling fat pieces of chalk. You pop the sticks into the printer, and they're melted into the printhead, which jets the ink onto the print drum. Paper is passed between a roller and the print drum under pressure, and the image is transferred to the paper. Once an ink stick is exhausted, you pop in a new one -- there's nothing to throw away or recycle.
Compare that to laser printing, which is the industry standard. This form of printing requires ink contained in plastic and metal cartridges. Once a cartridge is exhausted, it's shipped back to the vendor for recycling -- perhaps. This takes not only time, but there's the associated costs and environmental resources consumed from packaging and shipping. ColorQube has a clear advantage.
The ColorQube eco-friendly pluses don't end there. In a report about the line, InfoTrends notes the following: