Retail tops European league of paper wasters

Lexmark research puts spotlight on professional attitudes to paper wastage

Johannesburg, 23 May 2006

The retail sector has the highest rate of paper wastage in Europe with a quarter (25%) of all pages in the workplace printed for nothing, according to new research conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Lexmark, the printing solutions provider. The average for industries and sectors across Europe is 17%.

The survey of 2 837 office workers across Europe reveals the average employee prints out 34 pages per day of which a fifth (17%) are never used. Construction and financial services closely follow retail with the second and third highest wastage rates - 21% and 18% respectively.

Alarmingly the picture is the same in the public and private sectors, which have almost identical wastage rates of 18% and 17% respectively. However, there is a distinction in the number of pages printed - with the average public sector office worker printing 31 pages per day, compared to 38 pages in the private sector.

Lexmark commissioned the research to encourage companies to print less and manage their printing to help limit wastage, helping save both the environment and their bottom line costs.

The biggest wasters are SMBs

Interestingly, it is Europe`s smallest companies (with up to 10 employees) - those who are the most sensitive to costs - who are actually the most wasteful, with the average employee wasting 21% of printed pages respectively. While larger enterprises (with over 500 employees) seem to be starting to take on board the `think before you print` message - with a wastage rate of only 15%.

The printing blame game

The Lexmark research also shows how employees are unwilling to admit that they are part of the paper wastage problem and are unaware of the impact of paper wastage. Over half (52%) of European office workers say that in their office a lot of paper is printed for nothing. However, only a quarter (26%) admit they have any part to play in this wastage.

In the public sector, half (51%) of employees agree there is extensive paper wastage in the organisation they work for, yet three-quarters (76%) also claim that they are not personally responsible for any wasted printing.

In the private sector, 53% of employees admit wastage is a serious issue, but only a quarter (28%) admits they personally contribute to this wastage.

"The research we conducted for Lexmark highlights that office workers across Europe are unaware of the serious consequences of paper wastage, with very few admitting they are contributing to the problem," says Ipsos.

"In South Africa, we find that the extent of the wastage problem is similar, and that it goes right up to the boardroom, where senior executives are unaware of the bottom line impact of bad printing habits," says Hans Horn, Managing Director of Lexmark South Africa.

"We are urging people to think before they print, and to print less. Lexmark is committed to delivering products that help businesses reduce and manage print wastage," he adds.

Research conducted by Ipsos between 20 February and 7 March 2006.
Number of interviews: 2 837 people earning a wage taken from representative samples in France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Sweden. Interview method: phone.

For further information, please contact Louisa Craig at telephone (011) 244 - 2650; fax (011) 244 - 2629; e-mail

Lexmark International

Lexmark International, Inc makes it easier for businesses and consumers to move information between the digital and paper worlds. Since its inception in 1991, Lexmark has become a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of printing and imaging solutions for customers in more than 150 countries. Lexmark reported $5.2 billion in revenue in 2005, and can be found on the Internet at

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