The opposite of printing money: Abbotsford’s photocopier costs hit six figures

City employees make nearly three million copies each year

Abbotsford might be trying to become less reliant on paper, but a new six-figure contract set to be handed out next week shows it still has a long ways to go.

Last year, city staff used 34 different “multifunction photocopiers” to print 2.6 million pages worth of city information. All that printing doesn’t come cheap. Next week, if council gives its seal of approval, the city will hand Konica Minolta a three-year contract for an estimated average annual value of $112,727.

That’s more than the amount the city has spent each of the last three years, but significantly less than competing bids submitted by two other companies.

Over the last three years, the city has spent between $72,000 and $92,311 on copying services. That figure is directly linked to the huge amount of printing done by city employees.

While workers printed 2.6 million copies in 2019, that was less than the two previous years. A staggering three million copies were made in 2018, while 2.8 million copies were made in 2017.

Colour copies have amounted to about 47 per cent of all printing done over the last three years. Only about 30 per cent of copies were of the “duplex” variety, with both sides of a piece of paper used.

Konica Minolta has handled the city’s photocopiers for the last 12 years. Its contract includes replacement of photocopiers, which last for around seven years.

• • • • •

It’s hard to say exactly how many trees are needed to make three million copies. The report isn’t clear whether three million copies represent three million pieces of paper, or if each duplex print job is counted twice. There is also disagreement over how many pieces of paper come from the average tree.

Common estimates usually range between 10,000 and 20,000 pieces. Assuming the upper end of that range and that duplex print jobs are counted twice by the city’s figures, the approximately two million pieces of paper used by the city each year would amount to about 100 trees. That figure could be higher, depending on the sizes of paper being used and the efficiency of paper production from trees.

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