Ready for No-Print Day?

By | June 12, 2012

I just heard some very strange news. A U.S. division of Toshiba has announced October 23 as “National No Print Day” and is asking companies not to print anything — yes, anything — on that day.

I’m sorry. Did I miss something? Doesn’t Toshiba manufacture print production machines?

This would almost be comical if Toshiba weren’t embarking upon a national ad campaign to promote the idea. The Dead Tree Edition did a really nice job of dissecting the inaccuracies and greenwashing in the campaign (see its post here). But unfortunately, far more people will see the national Toshiba ads than will read that post.

Such initiatives continue to feed the misperception that harvesting trees is bad for the planet. The impact is more far-reaching than just Toshiba. The inaccuracies of such a campaign impact an entire industry.

Here are my favorite three responses posted by the blog site:

  • Paper is made mostly from renewable resources and has a high recycling rate. Ink and toner cartridges, including those with the Toshiba brand, are made mostly from non-renewable resources and are not often recycled. Have you considered that much of printing’s impact on our planet has nothing to do with paper usage?
  • Toshiba makes a variety of electronic products. Are you planning to celebrate a No-Toxic-Materials-in-Laptops Day?
  • Why the [$#*&!] did Toshiba just exhibit at Drupa, the world’s largest trade fair for printers, if one of its divisions was going to turn around and publicly trash the entire printing industry?

The Dead Tree Edition certainly has its response ready. How about you? What will you tell your customers if you catch them considering the possibility of buying into this ridiculous idea?

You’ve got four months to think about it.

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8 thoughts on “Ready for No-Print Day?

  1. Paul Abdool

    I haven’t seen the Toshiba stuff but I have been for “no print days” for years. Not for the sake of the trees because I agree with all of your statements above about the often non-recycled components of printers.

    However, my experiments in the past with large companies just simply has to do with Change and Waste. Employees are so accustomed to getting large paper-based reports and they inevitably use 1 or 2 pages of the 100 page report. My “no print day” concept forces employees to use the reporting tools that were put in place by management to make them more efficient while giving print centers back more capacity to print what really matters.

    Of course, this is just one example but if we actually think about it, we could probably get something out of a “National No Print Day”.

    My humble opinion

  2. Cary Wheeler

    How about “National No Toshiba Equipment Day” – no make that “Year” or how about “Forever”? Suppliers like Toshiba that cause us harm like this should be “rewarded” with banishment from all our print shops. I made a similar decision with Xerox in the days of “Facility Management Centers” that Xerox established and immediately took revenue out of my pocket – never had a Xerox box in my shop – never will. Just my $0.02 worth.

  3. Scott Cappel

    Shallow thinking by corporate types with no vision. Toshiba will regret this move, and if they’re smart will apologize for jumping the shark.

  4. Bil Duffey

    This guy from Toshiba should be shot or at the very least be fired. In an industry on its ass we don’t need fools like him preaching abstinence. Instead
    Of No Print Day how about No Eat Day! Bill Duffey Regal Press,Inc. President

  5. Noel Ward

    Oh, the righteous indignation!

    All the pundits, Twitter addicts, and commentators have their knickers in a twist about Toshiba’s proclamation that October 23rd will be “No Print Day.” They’re blogging, tweeting, and bleating about how terrible it is that Toshiba—as a vendor of printing systems—would actually encourage people not to print for—gasp— an entire day.

    Talk about a tempest in a teapot… or maybe a teaspoon! The discussion around this is like arguing how many toner particles can dance on the edge of a business card.

    A No Print Day is an amusing, interesting—and largely meaningless—gesture on Toshiba’s part, and all the whining and self-righteous indignation does is draw more attention to it. Which may have been part of the strategy anyway.

    Print is still a vital part of communications and not printing for one day does zip, zero, zilch to prove anything either way. Has anyone figured out that jobs due to run on October 23rd will just run anyway, on the 22nd or 24th? Does anyone notice the blurbs at the bottom of emails from several companies in this industry that encourage people to think before they print out an email?

    If our industry is so insecure that it feels that the “message” a No Print Day sends out is a bad thing we all ought to start looking for new ways to make a living.

  6. Alison Waddell

    The critics of this campaign may have some valid points but are definitely throwing the baby out with the bathwater in this case. It’s an unusual stand for a company which supplies printers and copiers to make but there is every reason to be critical of the amount of paper wasted in offices in North America. Perhaps Toshiba’s bigger picture does involve driving consumers to use digital platforms for communications and records (they are primarily electronics and energy providers after all). But the response to the campaign from the print industry is a defensive one, punching holes in a larger argument which they’ve extrapolated from the ad: printing isn’t necessary when there are digital devices to convey messages. I think that’s blowing things out of perspective.

    Office paper consumption IS a problem. Waste occurs when we print single sided, print extra pages unnecessarily, print in colour when grey scale is sufficient, etc. National No Print day is a way to bring awareness to the irresponsible paper consumption in offices.

    The reduction of wasteful printing does not imply the elimination of print. In fact, the pendulum is swinging back in favour of print as we are seeing the value in responsibly managed forestry and as we develop new ways to merge the digital and the printed realm for higher impact. It behooves print industry champions to see this campaign for what it is and to look towards ways to work in tandem with the digital proponents for more effective and efficient communications – reducing the wasteful forms of paper consumption.

  7. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    @Allison — I totally agree with the issue of office waste. If that had been the focus of the campaign, that would have been great. They could have still used the tree, but the theme could have been “No Office Waste Day.” Now THAT would have been something everyone could get behind! (Except perhaps the manufacturers of copier paper . . . )

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