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Xerox measures printers' cost, environmental impact

Most businesses have too many printers. The Xerox Sustainability Calculator enables businesses to measure the cost savings and environmental impact of cutting back.

Xerox has built an application to help people use fewer copiers and printers.

Called the Xerox Sustainability Calculator, the application allows businesses to figure out what sort of cost savings and environmental improvements can be had by reducing the amount of equipment installed.

The company's research shows that printing devices are used only between 1 and 2 percent of the time. Companies can save between 20 percent and 30 percent on what they spend by reducing equipment to an optimal number, said Patty Calkins, the vice president of environment, health, and safety at Xerox.

The company's Sustainability Calculator translates changes to environmental impact over the lifecycle of equipment including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, solid waste, as well as air and water use.

Xerox' Sustainability Calculator: "Greening" your office through efficiency. Xerox

Xerox consultants use a high-end edition for large organizations. The company is also making a free one available online. The application will be available online beginning Tuesday.

Xerox has a long tradition of environmental stewardship. The company introduced equipment in the early 1980s that could power itself down, which helped lead to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating program. But the reason that it developed a service to use fewer copiers and printers is because its business has shifted away from selling consumables to offering services, according to Calkins.

"Our service offering is about efficiency. And inefficiency is waste, which typically has an environmental impact," she said.