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New printing system starts to show savings

The university typically consumes between 54 and 60 million sheets of paper per annum. That’s a lot of paper. Earlier this year we implemented a new printing management system that utilises energy-efficient multi-function printers (MFPs) and seeks to minimise wastage and unnecessary printing by defaulting to duplex printing (printing on both sides of the sheet) and implementing “pull” printing (where the user requests his/her print job by presenting the proximity student/staff card at the printer). This has been rolled out on 176 MFPs in student computer user areas (CUAs) mostly. And the results are already significant.

During August, the first full month of operations, the savings on over 3 million page prints were as follows:

  • 900,000 sheets as a result of duplex printing
  • 395,000 sheets as a result of “pull” printing (i.e. sheets that would have been printed if the user did not have to request them at the printer).

That represents a saving in paper of over 30%.

The percentage of all print jobs that were duplex was 62%, while the pull print ratio was 70% – which reflects the fact that some devices are not yet being operated in “pull” mode but are being tracked.

Ultimately, up to 600 devices will be managed by the system.

Besides the green and savings aspects of the solution, it also facilitates secure printing at a shared MFP, as the user’s job is only printed when the user presents his/her card at the MFP. Uncollected jobs are automatically deleted after a preset, configurable period. The project leader is Le Roux Franken – feel free to contact him via this blog if you have questions.


In another initiative that seeks to reduce paper usage amongst other goals, one faculty is piloting a laptop-per-student initiative from the beginning of 2011 in partnership with the IT Division. All learning material will be digitally preloaded onto the laptops which will sync to an online e-learning repository when connected.

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10 Responses to “New printing system starts to show savings”

  1. JP says:

    This is such refreshing news! I must say, when I read it, I was really happy.
    As part of e-Learning the whole issue of printing has always been a very disturbing aspect of going “digital”. Users are not changed easily, and it seems that at least taking out most (or all) of the hurdles to saving paper is working. Congratulations to Le Roux and the host of other colleagues at IT and at the “RGA’s” who are making this such a worthwhile exercise.
    Thank you Sustainable IT for this important post.

  2. CD says:

    Its only a beginning!!! It has always infuriated me that this University which is at the forefront of research etc still continues to use resources unsustainably.

    More can be done in all aspects of the University.

  3. Ydalene Coetsee says:

    CD, where have all the positive thoughts gone? We hope you are not one of those who use an aircon in this perfect weather. Congratulations for all those who try to save our planet!

  4. Pierre says:

    Not sure what Ydalene Coetsee means by “saving our planet”, or what aircon has to do with any of this, but I do appreciate the fact that money is being saved by the new system. It shouldn’t have taken so many years to find a solution to the problem. I also know of people that complained that they do not always want to print duplex.

  5. Anton says:

    Wel gedaan met die besparings inisiatief IT! Hoop daar is vele meer sulkes. Bygesê papier is ‘n hernubare item, afkomstig van ‘n volhoubaar bestuurde hernubare hulpbron, hout, in Suid Afrika. Solank die papier nie verbrand word nie, is dit ook ‘n effektiewe stoor van koolstof (dink maar aan miljoene tonne in biblioteke oor die wêreld, sommige meer as 1000 jaar oud. My punt is dat om papier te spaar nie noodwendig die planeet gaan red nie. Die gebruik van papier, karton en hout in plaas van plastiek en ander vervaardigde polimere kan wel bydra. Plant ‘n boom en laat ‘n toekoms na!

  6. Steve Walsh says:

    You can save a lot more by using a product such as Fineprint where you can print say two pages on one A4, then print duplex and make that 4 pages on one A4 sheet. Most of the time the text is readable at this resolution. I have achieved a 75% saving on paper using this method.

  7. dw says:

    I am skeptical that the “laptop-per-student” will work with the South African culture of lack of ownership and responsibility. Give a student a “free laptop” and he/she will regard it as their own to reformat and turn into a gaming/Facebook/P2P toy! The first thing to disappear will be the notes and study material!

    Secondly the laptop screen resolution is certainly not conducive to study, long periods of concentration and eye fatigue. Paper is better. Perhaps the university should have investigated a “Kindle-like” option rather than cheap laptops that can be used for things OTHER than studying notes.

  8. Rudolf says:

    Mens kan slegs die nuwe drukfasiliteit se lof besing: dit is ‘n massiewe besparing van geld (aankoop van papier en ink), hulpbronne (bome, TYD, ens.), ens.
    Daar is velerlei positiewe gevolge.
    Verby is die noodsaak om DADELIK jou gedagte-gang/werk te onderbreek om die drukstuk te gaan inwag-soos-dit-gedruk-word, net om ‘n gerondsnuffel vir ‘n drukstuk tussen hope gemorsde (SKOON!) papier, wat rondgetrap word. Nou kan ek 10 dokumente drukker toe stuur, voordat ek, nadat al my ander werk afgehandel is, almal tegelyk kan gaan haal, by die drukker van my keuse!

    (Goed dan, in Engels:)
    The default printer settings can easily be changed BEFORE sending the document to the printer:
    1 – Click on ‘Properties’, next to the printer’s name in the ‘Print’ message box.
    2 – Click on the ‘Finishing’ tab and then REMOVE the tick next to ‘Print on Both
    Sides’ to print only on one side [PLEASE THINK TWICE: Rather print on both
    sides, if at all possible].

    Reduce the number of pages you need to carry around:
    1 – Click on ‘Properties’, next to the printer’s name in the ‘Print’ message box.
    2 – Click on the ‘Finishing’ tab and then click next to ‘Print on Both
    Sides’ (ensure there IS a tick) to print ON BOTH SIDES of a sheet.
    3 – On the ‘Finishing’ tab, change the ‘Pages per Sheet’ to 2 (or even 4) to even
    further reduce the number of sheets you have to print: notes that do not
    contain small detailed graphs, or small print, can still be readable with even
    4 pages PER SIDE of a sheet. That is 8 (EIGHT) pages per sheet! 🙂
    4 – Click OK to close the ‘Properties’ message box and print your document.

    For SLIDES:
    1 – Click on the ‘Finishing’ tab and then click next to ‘Print on Both
    Sides’ (ensure there IS a tick) to PRINT ON BOTH SIDES of a sheet.
    2 – On the ‘Finishing’ tab, change the ‘Pages Per Sheet’ to 1 (ONE) only.
    3 – Click OK to close the ‘Properties’ message box.
    4 – Change the ‘Print what’ (from ‘Slides’) to ‘Handouts’.
    5 – Change ‘Slides per page’ to 6 (SIX).
    6 – Print your PowerPoint slides (6 per side, 12 in total, per sheet!).

    IF THE SLIDES ARE TOO SMALL TO READ like this:
    7 – Try ‘Slides per page’ of 4 (or even 2), if the slides contain a LOT of detail.

    With a little practice, you are able to significantly reduce the stack of paper required to print your notes!

  9. Cara says:

    Nou vir die volgende groot stap… wanneer sal ek vanaf my laptop dokumente na die drukker toe kan stuur? Ek moet maar nog oudergewoonte met ‘n flash disk in die rekenaar-ry gaan staan by ‘n RGA as ek enigiets wil druk. Verwys my gerus as julle nie die regte ouens is om hierdie vraag te antwoord nie?

  10. Le Roux says:

    Hallo Cara

    Indien jou laptop aan die universiteit se netwerk gekoppel is, is dit geen probleem nie.

    Jy installeer die drukker
    \\rgaprint.stb.sun.ac.za\SecurePrint-RGA-PCL5-PR01

    Gebruik jou gebruikersnaam en wagwoord wanneer jy daarvoor gevra word.

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