What is Printing’s Carbon Footprint?
The CO2 impact of printing is much smaller than you might first think. Admittedly, it’s not easy to find reliable figures for the CO2 footprint of paper, as the global paper industry differs greatly. Office consumption also accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total amount of paper produced, with the far greater part being used for packaging.
But as a rule of thumb, …
- 1 kilo of paper results in approximately 1 kilo of CO2 during its production (1.2kg of CO2 for unrecycled, and 0.7kg of CO2 for recycled paper).
- If we take office paper which is usually 80g/m², then we end up with 16 pages of paper per square meter.
- Dividing this 80g by the 16 sheets, we come to a figure of just 5g of CO2 per page.
Energy consumption during the printing process also plays a role. This is almost negligible for an inkjet printer, which only needs 15 watts to print. Using a laser printer, which during the warm-up phase requires 1300 watts, we have calculated the following figures:
- Per kilowatt hour, 474g CO2, or 7.9g of CO2 per minute is produced.
- A laser printer that prints 10 pages per minute with 1.3KW causes 7.9g CO2 x 1.3KW = 10.27g CO2.
- This means that a page printed with a laser printer produces approximately 1g of CO2.
This means that the CO2 emissions per printed page is 5g if an inkjet printer is used, and 6g if a laser printer is used.