Popular Environmental Myths

Popular Enviromental Myths

Myth 1:

When equipment is turned on, or powers up from sleep or suspend modes, there is often a current surge. The energy consumed during this current surge is so large that leaving your equipment in normal operating mode wastes less energy than turning it off or using power management features.


Start-up current surges are of very short duration and at most they consume a few seconds of average running time energy. Whenever your equipment is not being used for more than a few minutes it makes sense to turn it off or switch to a lower power setting.

It is always cheaper to switch appliances off (at the powerpoint if possible)

Myth 2:

Printing double-sided and/or using recycled paper causes photocopiers to jam and makes you use more paper.


Many of us have had these experiences, but modern equipment can handle recycled paper. When buying new photocopiers and printers, ensure that manufacturers and suppliers are prepared to guarantee effective performance in these areas. Some copier manufacturers (e.g. Canon and Fuji Xerox) will specify the brands of recycled paper they approve.

Myth 3:

Turning off or power managing computers and printers causes network problems.


If networks have been properly set up there should be no problem with turning off or power managing computers and printers in the network. If you are installing or upgrading a network, you can save energy by making effective power management capacity a mandatory condition of the contract. While servers need to be left on, they don't need their screens on after hours to assist processing.

Myth 4:

Refilled toner or ink cartridges leak everywhere and make an incredible mess.


There are virtually hundreds of reliable suppliers - google your local cartridge recyclers.

Myth 5:

Screen savers save energy.


Screen savers are energy wasters. Most computers use about twice as much energy lighting up the screen as they use for processing. Originally, screen savers were designed to stop screens being burnt by a constant image.

Energy Tip: Set screen saver to ‘none’ or ‘blank screen’

Myth 6:

Turning off computers crashes the hard drive.


Switching off computers will have no significant effect on the useful lifetime of the hard disk. Most manufacturers specify a life of 40,000 power cycles for their hard drives. That is equivalent to 30 stop/start cycles for each working day over five years.

Myth 7:

Leaving fluorescent lights on is better than switching them off and on.


Modern lights start up very quickly. If you switch them off for more than 30 seconds, you begin to save money

Myth 8:

Chargers, including mobile phone chargers, do not use electricity when they are not in use.


If the charger is still plugged in, it is using energy. This applies to phones, walkie-talkies, torches and drills. A mobile phone charger will still be using and thus wasting 90% of the energy consumed when it is left plugged in (proof: it is generating heat).

Myth 9:

Buying environmentally-friendly products is always more expensive.


Prices will depend on the individual product e.g. energy efficient light bulbs may initially be more expensive but this premium is more than compensated by the massively lower running costs over the bulbs lifespan.

Myth 10:

Laser printers are the most efficient printers.


In fact, ink jet printers are the most efficient. Laser printers actually use more energy.

Myth 11:

The only real materials that an office can recycle are paper and cardboard.


These are only the most visible materials that can be recycled. You can typically recycle (please check your local council / municipality guidelines):

Glass bottles and jars, aluminium and steel cans, empty aerosols and clean aluminium foil, plastic yoghurt, margarine and ice cream containers, milk and juice cartons, plastic milk, juice and soft drink bottles, plastic cups, plastic take-away containers, plastic detergent and shampoo bottles.

Believe it or not, up to 3.4 litres of oil is needed to make just one new laser print cartridge. That's enough to service a small car. So although you may be saving trees by recycling paper, it could all be coming undone simply because you do not recycle your toner cartridges. Visit Cart Collect to see how easy it is for your business or home office to recycle used cartridges.

Make sure you have a recycling bin at your premises


Every tonne of paper recycled saves almost 13 trees, 4,100 kilowatts of electricity and more than 30,000 litres (7,900 gallons) of water.

Myth 12:

By being concerned with the environment, we will be diverting important time and money away from the business.


Take the example of IBM - they estimate that every dollar that they spend on environmental concerns or pollution adds two dollars to their profits.