Der Grüne Punkt reduces waste and saves energy with RIPS

Leading recycling company buys a fleet of WorkForce Pro printers

Der Grüne Punkt reduces waste and saves energy with RIPS

"Sustainability is in the DNA of our company," says Dr Markus Helftewes, business development and sustainability manager at Duales System, known for its "Der Grüne Punkt" system.

Founded in 1990, Der Grüne Punkt was the world's first company to develop and organise a dual system of high-quality recycling for product packaging that was also convenient for the consumer.

Now incorporated into Duales System Germany, Der Grüne Punkt, is today a leading supplier of waste collection systems. In 2014 alone, around 2.6 million tonnes of used packaging and other waste were recycled by Der Grüne Punkt. This represents the equivalent of around 1.4 million tons of CO2 or 500,000 tons of crude oil.

Including the other business areas covered by the holding company – packaging licensing, recycling in compliance with the law on electrical waste, container-deposit solutions and logistics and disposal services, the group achieved a turnover of around 650 million euros in 2014 with a team of around 500.

Ethos of sustainability

The low electricity consumption of inkjet printers is a good fit for the company's ethos of sustainability. "We became aware of the option of inkjet printers for professional use, and the associated energy-saving potential," explains Dirk Seiler, IT infrastructure manager. "That's why we decided to switch from laser to inkjet, starting with our A3+ departmental printers as part of the regular system upgrade."

The conversion of Der Grüne Punkt's print infrastructure involved not only switching to inkjet technology but also installing Epson's WorkForce Pro RIPS systems, with enormous ink reservoirs that allow them to print up to 75,000 pages without changing consumables. This drastically reduced printer downtime caused by empty cartridges.

Energy savings

Before the decision to change the A3+ printers was taken, the systems had to undergo extensive testing. This involved using the printers in the company's routine work processes, sometimes with power measuring devices. According to Seiler, "Our own tests showed that the 80 per cent saving advertised by the manufacturer was very realistic. Because we involve our administration in the existing energy management systems at our production sites, it was important to us to include these potential energy savings in our efforts."

Nine WorkForce Pro WF-R8590DWFs are in operation at Der Grüne Punkt, printing a wide range of documents, including letters, invoices, delivery notes or even order certificates. In more specialist departments such as IT, longer documents including manuals also need to be printed.

Commercial documents use stationery from external print shops with only the relevant logo pre-printed, so letterheads can now be printed along with the normal document content. This reduces the costs associated with maintaining stocks of pre-printed material and increases flexibility, because now there's no need to discard reams of paper whenever the letterhead details are changed.

Shortly after introducing the new printers, the managers at Der Grüne Punkt noticed remarkably positive feedback from users of the new systems. The speed with which the first page is printed – because inkjet printers, in contrast to laser printers, don't need to warm up – was an important factor in this. The printers' intuitive touch panels also received good reviews from staff. 

The next step

In addition to printing, digitisation of documents is an important role for the company's WorkForce Pro WF-R8590DWFs, using their "scan to folder", "scan to PDF" and "scan to email" functions. 

The new inkjet printers have proved a big hit with the company, and as a result it is already taking its next step along the inkjet route. A4 printers and multifunction devices from the WorkForce Pro series are currently being tested, with a view to swapping the company's existing printers and multifunction devices for inkjets. At the same time, the number of devices is set to shrink significantly as part of an initiative to make infrastructure leaner.

"The test of the WorkForce Pro devices is almost over and so far has gone very well," says Seiler. "So we're planning to start the roll-out from next spring." An additional attraction of the inkjet printers for the company is that they are not selective about the kinds of paper they print on. Der Grüne Punkt uses a specially recycled paper and has no problems whatsoever in terms of paper dust or fussy transport mechanisms.

"We feel very well served with the new inkjets", concludes Seiler.