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 user 2009-05-15 at 2:58:29 pm Views: 88
  • #22312

    Federal workers throw out millions of pages a day
    employees every day print millions of pages that are instantly
    discarded or recycled, costing the government an estimated $440.4
    million each year, a study released Tuesday said.The federal government
    spends nearly $1.3 billion annually on employee printing, of which
    roughly one-third is dubbed “wasteful printing,” according to a survey
    of 380 federal employees conducted on behalf of printer maker Lexmark
    Inc.The figure, Lexmark contends, is “more than $1 million per day and
    more than four times the amount President Barack Obama recently called
    upon agency chiefs to eliminate from their administrative budgets.”

    official of one federal watchdog group said the survey – even if a
    computer printer company sponsored it – rings all too true.”It makes
    way too much sense,” said David Williams, vice president of policy at
    Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based think tank.”We
    see a culture of bureaucracy. When given a choice, even with these huge
    technological advantages, you don’t see the government taking advantage
    of this. Private industry and business has taken advantage, but this
    government hasn’t,” Mr. Williams said.”President Obama has called for
    fiscal responsibility, and identifying and eliminating unnecessary
    printing is a simple first step,” said Marty Canning, a Lexmark vice
    president.”Clear, standardized, and enforced agency printing policies,
    as well as increased reliance on secure digital records, will help
    change the employee printing habits that have become so ingrained in
    the government ‘corporate culture’ and enable agencies to decrease
    their carbon footprint,” Mr. Canning added.Despite claims of a growing
    environmental consciousness among younger federal employees, the
    so-called “Generation Y” workers, the survey indicated they were on a
    par with their older colleagues who may have entered federal service
    before the first Earth Day.

    According to the survey, Gen Y
    employees print nearly the same average number of pages per day as baby
    boomer employees, a total of 29 pages versus 31 pages respectively.
    Both groups toss out almost the same amount of freshly printed pages,
    31 percent for Gen Y and 34 percent for boomer federal workers.The
    online survey by O’Keefe & Co., an Alexandria public relations
    firm, canvassed 380 workers in March.The majority, 53 percent, held
    jobs at a rank of GS-12 and below, while 56 percent classified
    themselves as civilian federal workers. Of the rest, 42 percent said
    they were Department of Defense employees and 2 percent said they were
    involved in intelligence.

    While 80 percent of respondents said
    they were “responsible” in their printing use, this came up against a
    finding that 92 percent of people responding said they do not need all
    the documents they print in a day, noting as one reason the common
    statement that “most of my printing is distributed to colleagues who
    prefer to have a hard copy,” the survey reported.Mr. Williams said the
    report’s conclusion that one-third of all federal desktop printing is
    wasteful “ties into the mentality of ‘use it or lose it’ when it comes
    to [an agency's] funding.”"We’re having a huge expansion of the federal
    government,” he added, “Few voices are telling the government to save
    money. There’s not a sense of frugality in Washington, D.C., not a
    sense of need right now for the government to save money.”

    survey’s conclusions suggest implementing “automatic duplex printing”
    to save paper cost by printing on both sides of a sheet; putting a
    “clear printing policy in place”; converting more documents to digital
    files as substitutes for paper; and holding employees accountable for
    their printing habits