Multi-functional Devices (mfds) Buying Green

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Multi-functional Devices (MFDs)

Buying Green website copy developed by the Responsible Purchasing Network for the California Department of General Services
March 22, 2012

Multifunctional devices (MFDs) are imaging devices that combine operations such as copying, printing, scanning and faxing into one machine. Compared to buying separate equipment for each capability, choosing a multifunctional device is more economical and environmentally sound.

  • Less energy is required to power one device rather than several, which also reduces power plant emissions, including carbon dioxide and other global warming gases.

  • It is much less expensive to purchase one machine that can perform most or all of these capacities than to buy separate machines to do each one.

  • An MFD takes up far less space than several machines.

  • Multifunctional devices can ease the adoption of effective paper reduction practices such as scanning documents to save electronically or send as email rather than printing out copies on paper.

The CA Department of General Services (DGS) has negotiated 18 contracts identified as "IT Hardware, Printers and Copiers." Within this collection are the following eight contracts for Multifunctional Devices (MFDs).
The DGS contact is listed on each contract in the User Instructions document.
Contract Name: MFD Monochrome Low Volume (Printer Based)

Contract Number: 1-11-70-04I

Contract Name: Low Volume Monochrome MFD (Copier Based)

Contract Number: 1-11-70-04J

Contract Name: MFD Mono High Volume (Printer Based)

Contract Number: 1-11-70-04K

Contract Name: High Volume Monochrome MFD (Copier Based)

Contract Number: 1-11-70-04L

Contract Name: MFD Mono High Volume Ledger (Printer Based)

Contract Number: 1-11-70-04N

Contract Name: High Volume Monochrome MFD - Ledger (Copier Based)

Contract Number: 1-11-70-04O

Contract Name: MFD Color High Volume (Printer Based)

Contract Number: 1-11-70-04P

Contract Name: High Volume Color MFD (Copier Based)

Contract Name: 1-11-70-04Q

Ordering Instructions - See individual contracts.
All of the MFDs on these contracts meet the following mandatory specifications.
ENERGY STAR-qualified: Equipment must comply with current (version 1.1, adopted on July 1, 2009) ENERGY STAR Imaging Equipment specifications and subsequent updates. For more information, see CERTIFICATIONS [link]

Energy saving (sleep mode): Within 30 minutes of non-use, equipment must power down when not in use.
Duplexing enabled: Equipment must be delivered pre-set to default to printing on both sides of paper unless single-sided printing is chosen. Duplexing reduces paper consumption, which saves money, as well as space requirements for paper file storage.
No restrictions are allowed on recycling/remanufacturing of toner or ink cartridges pursuant to Public Contract Code §12156. Also, remanufactured consumables shall not void the equipment's warranty. In addition, vendor shall maintain a Take Back Program for spent toner and ink cartridges.
Equipment must be RoHS-compliant: Vendor must declare that products are compliant with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. The RoHS Directive sets limits toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants in electronic equipment such as printers, copiers and MFDs.
A strict limit (0.1%) is set on two highly toxic brominated flame retardants (PBDEs) that are essentially banned in California.
Certification of recycled content: Vendors must certify, in writing, the minimum postconsumer recycled content in each of the products and associated shipping/packaging materials, and identify the recycled content in catalog listings.

Product packaging and shipping materials shall contain at least the minimum post- consumer recycled content designated by the State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign (SABRC). Packaging shall be recyclable, easily deconstructed for recycling, and not contaminated with non-recyclable stickers or inks.

Manufacturer's certification of recycled content materials is available with contract documents as Attachment C.
Hazardous Materials Documentation: The vendor must supply a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) upon request.
Warranties: Vendor must honor all manufacturer warranties and guarantees, including those that extend beyond the contract term, if manufacturer warranty continues beyond it.
Product Recall Procedures: Vendor shall provide recall notifications to all purchasers of affected equipment and handle appropriate recall procedures.
Not Mandatory
Manufacturer's Environmental Management System (EMS): Vendors are encouraged provide a signed declaration that the manufacturer meets the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard or third-party certification for additional scoring. The EMS shall include tracking and reporting of the manufacturer’s progress toward meeting environmental goals and targets.
Indoor Air Emissions: Vendors are encouraged to provide evidence that their equipment complies with the emission rates for total VOCs, ozone, and dust in accordance with the EcoLogo or German Blue Angel criteria (see Certifications). The EcoLogo certification incorporates by reference the Blue Angel certification.
Recyclable Packaging: The State prefers there to be no PVC plastic bags or films, containers and corrugated boxes to be readily recyclable with no coatings or substances such as wax that would inhibit recyclability, inks to be free of heavy metals, packaging to contain at least 30% post-consumer materials as well as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper with no chlorine processing.
Renewable and Biobased Materials: : : The manufacturer may declare in writing the use of any renewable and biobased materials and its contents in product components. Compostable packaging must meet ASTM D6400 (Standard Specifications for Compostable Plastics).

Laws, Regulations and Policies
Public Contract Code

PCC §12156 prohibits contractors from offering toner and ink cartridges that have restrictions on their ability to be remanufactured or recycled.

PCC §12200 - 12217 - State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign

These codes establish the State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign (SABRC) to carry out the State’s intent to “pursue all feasible measures to improve markets for recycled products.” They further require: “If fitness and quality are equal, each State agency shall purchase recycled products instead of nonrecycled products whenever recycled products are available at the same or a lesser total cost than nonrecycled products.” It also directs each state agency to ensure that at least half of its “reportable” products are recycled.

Vendors supplying the MFD contracts were required to certify, in writing, the minimum or exact percentage of post-consumer recycled content material (PCRC) in each of their products and associated shipping/packaging materials. The data is in Attachment C for each contract.

California Code of Regulations (CCR)
CCR, Title 8, §339-340 requires vendors on State contracts to provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) when requested by the ordering agency.
CCR, Title 22, §66260.202 – Regulations on the Use of Heavy Metals in Covered Electronic Equipment prohibits the sale of an electronic device if it contains one or more heavy metals exceeding maximum concentration values established by the European Union under its Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive (202-95/EC) or as specified in a subsequent amendment to the Directive. For more information, see
CCR, Title 22, Division 4.5, Chapter 23 - Standards for Universal Waste Management
Health and Safety Code (HSC)
HSC §25214.11 - 25214.25 - Toxics in Packaging Prevention Act

California limits the amount of cadmium, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium in product packaging.

Limits on Toxic Flame Retardants in Electronics. AB 302 prohibits the sale of products in the state of California that contain more than 0.1% pentaBDE or octaBDE. PentaBDE is a flame retardant that is sometimes added to plastics in electronic components such as printed circuit boards. OctaBDE is a flame retardant that is sometimes added to the plastic housing of electronic equipment. Both mixtures are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that have been largely banned from industrial production because of toxicity, persistence in the environment, and ability to concentrate in the food chain. A report published by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), for example, explains that “polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were banned in California because they are found widely in wildlife (including fish and seals in the San Francisco Bay), have been found to be toxic to animals, and are chemically similar to other POPs (such as chlorinated dioxins) for which serious human health effects have been documented.i
A copy of AB 302 can be accessed at
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to promote the purchase of equipment that improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Products meeting its specifications can qualify to display the ENERGY STAR symbol on their products.
EcoLogo, a third-party organization based in Canada, published a multi-attribute Certification Criteria Document for Office Machines (CCD-035) in 2009. It references the German Blue Angel Program’s criteria document for Office Equipment for Printing Function (RAL-UZ 122). Both organizations certify imaging equipment (including MFDs) that do not exceed specified maximum emission rates for total volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone, and dust. Both standards also include energy-efficiency criteria and other requirements.
Certification by EcoLogo or Blue Angel is not mandatory for the MFD contracts, but is a positive indicator of environmental benefits when present. All the current MFD contracts meet these criteria.

Buying Tips
The Buyers Laboratory Buying Tips provide a very helpful overview of factors to consider when choosing printers, copiers, and multifunction devices (which they call “multifunction products” or MFPs). While several of the Buying Tips topics have already been addressed in the State’s contracts (e.g., how to negotiate the best deal, payment options), others will help purchasers choose between the different types of devices available on the State’s contracts. Buyers Lab, Inc. (BLI) is an independent laboratory that tests provides guidance on purchasing and using imaging equipment.

The BLI website offers a concise overview of the sustainability factors buyers should consider when choosing imaging equipment. These include energy and paper usage, product manufacturing and end-of-life impacts, and the chemical composition, emissions and waste associated with the machine’s toner or ink. For more information, go to In addition, attached is a table summarizing the environmental attributes of the eight MFDs offered on VA DGS contracts, including each machine’s energy usage when on and in “sleep” modes, cartridge yield, duplexing capability, etc. [LINK]

The CA MFD contracts feature two options for each equipment category: one is a printer-based MFD and the other is a copier-based MFD. It is important to determine which is most appropriate for your agency's needs before making your purchase.
Printer-Based vs. Copier-Based MFDs - Overview

  • Printers and copiers were originally designed on very different technology platforms, but the most useful features of one are now frequently migrating to the other as well. Whether intended projects are more likely to require copying versus printing capabilities will help inform which type of MFDs to buy.

  • Carefully assess your office’s realistic needs to avoid buying “too much machine.” Functions (e.g., faxing) that are rarely needed, or might only “possibly” be needed in the future, may be better met with occasional access to another machine rather than building it into every imaging machine that is purchased.

  • Printer-based MFDs tend to replace single-function printers. They also offer light copier capabilities, but heavier copier needs would probably be better met by a copier-based MFD.

  • Both printer-based and copier-based MFDs can be networked so that many users can access the same equipment, thereby reducing energy use, and minimizing multiple machine clutter. .

  • Evaluate each MFDs control panel to ensure that it is appropriate for your office’s use and likely staff training level. Copier-based MFDs tend to have larger and more complex control panels because they usually are built to handle more complex operations than printer-based MFDs.

Printer-Based MFDs

  • Provide finer print quality and may be the best choice if most projects are short, and don’t require complicated finishing requirements (such as binding).

  • Use less energy than copier-based MFDs.

  • Cost less initially, are likely to have a smaller footprint, and may not require scheduled maintenance.

  • Use ink or toner cartridges that can be easily changed by the machine’s user. Some printer-based devices use a cost-effective "dual component solution" for replacing toner cartridges. Rather than replacing the drum every time new toner is required, the two components can be changed at different intervals, which results in longer drum life and saves money, according to BLI. The State’s MDF contracts K, N and P offer this option.

Copier-Based MFDs

  • Are likely to be the best choice if projects tend to be long or complicated.

  • Often handle a greater range of paper sizes and typically offer more complex finishing options for projects (e.g., binding).

  • May need oversight by more highly-trained staff than printer-based devices because they are designed to handle more complicated projects,

  • Generally require a supplemental contract for ongoing maintenance because their “consumables” (e.g., toner refills, fusers, drums) often cannot be easily replaced by users, although these items often cost less than those for printer-based devices.

The number of pages the machine is likely to produce each month helps identify the most appropriate choice to meet an office’s needs. Manufacturers call this volume the machine’s “duty cycle.” Check Buyers Lab's Optimum Monthly Volume chart for their assessment of reasonably expected volumes per device category. According to BLI, the manufacturers’ published duty cycle should be considered the outer limit of what could be produced each month, and counsels users to expect the equipment to operate optimally if it produces considerably less.

The State’s bid process required bidders to provide the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for each machine offered, and that information was considered in the bid evaluation process. Each contract’s Attachment A lists costs for each machine’s options, consumables, maintenance and warranty contracts.
While all the MFDs on the State contracts can have fax capacity, several do not have it automatically installed, even if the manufacturer’s website says that they do. [DISCUSS WITH DGS] DGS determined that the demand for faxing was not large enough to justify the added cost and complexity in all the machines. Some of the MFDs on contract do include a fax. For the others, Attachment A – Contract Pricing details the cost and ordering information for adding fax capacity.
Since MFDs have more moving parts than single-function printers or copiers, they may need maintenance more often. All State contracts for printers, copiers and MFDs require next-business-day (NBD) service, when necessary, which should minimize disruptions.
Staff training is essential for optimum use of MFDs. Because they incorporate multiple functions into one machine, users may need to become familiar with how they are different from previous single-function machines they may have used. Lack of training may lead users to mistakenly assume that the machine does not perform adequately, and may waste paper and toner.
Make sure staff is trained to which papers to use for different printing and copying functions (and ensure that your imaging equipment works well with recycled-content paper. A successful approach to “good paper tray management” is to set up the MFD with 20 lb. recycled-content white copy paper in the main paper tray, to be used for most printing and copying jobs. Supplemental trays might include legal-size, letterhead or heavier presentation papers (such as 24 lb. or 28 lb.), depending on the types of projects most often produced on the equipment. The heavier presentation papers require more wood fiber (causing greater environmental impacts and costing more money), so they should be used sparingly, if at all.
Using Draft settings will produce readable non-final copies that minimize toner use. Standard printing/copying settings can be used for final printouts. Several pages of a multi-page document can be consolidated onto one printed or scanned page in order to save paper and reduce environmental impacts.
The vendor contacts can provide environmental testing results from Buyers Laboratory on each device, if requested. The vendor contact person is listed in the User Instructions document.
Some imaging equipment may qualify for U.S. Green Business Council LEED for existing buildings operations and maintenance (EBOM) credits if it contains recycled-content materials, although LEED standards specifically for MFDs were not available when the contracts were developed. Using recycled content copy paper and remanufactured toner cartridges also qualifies for LEED EBOM credits.

Equipment and Cartridge End-of-Life Management and Recycling
Each Vendor provides a “Takeback” Program for spent toner and ink cartridges. However, an agency can use a different cartridge recycling program, if desired, including those offered by the toner and ink cartridge vendors on other State contracts. All the machines can use remanufactured cartridges.
The State Agency procedure for handling MFDs and other imaging equipment offered on this contract involves:

  • Obtaining approval for discarding Universal Waste from the DGS Procurement Division's Surplus Property Reutilization Program.

  • Exploring reutilization of surplus IT equipment prior to requesting approval for disposal or attempting to use the equipment as a credit toward the purchase or lease of new equipment.

  • Arranging to remove and retain data storage media such as hard disk drives.

  • Contacting the vendor for the process to follow for their Take Back Program.

References and Resources
Buyers Laboratory Buying Tips for Multi-Function Products
How a Product Earns the ENERGY STAR Label
Toner and Ink Cartridges section of the CA DGS Buying Green website

i California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers: Recommendations to Reduce Exposure in California, A Report of the Cal/EPA PBDE Workgroup, February 2006;

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