Last month we looked at choosing the right printer if you want to reduce your carbon footprint and highlighted some machines which are easier on your pocket as well as the environment. Choosing the right printer is only part of the story, though, as there are plenty of steps you can take to lessen the impact of your printing on the environment.
Most, if not all, of these tips will also save you money on your printing so they make good business sense, as well as giving you a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Here, in no particular order, are several ways in which you can print greener.
- Print less. It sounds obvious, doesn’t it, but how often do we hit “print” without really thinking about whether we need a hard copy? Can the document be stored and viewed digitally? Instead of making copies of a paper document, how about scanning it and sending it by e-mail, for instance?
- Duplex print. Hopefully your printer will have a built-in duplex unit but, if not, most printers will allow you to duplex manually via the printer driver. Straight away, you’ve reduced your paper usage by 50%.
- Use print preview. How many times have you printed a document, only to collect if from the printer and find that it doesn’t look how you expected it to? Checking the print preview will save all those wasted pages as you fiddle about trying to get it right and it allows you to print only the pages you actually need. Which brings us on to…
- Web printing. Printing from the web can be extremely frustrating as the printer spews out pages which are mis-aligned, poorly formatted or blank, save for a url at the bottom of the page. Many printers include software which allows you to remove unnecessary images, optimise the layout and eliminate any unwanted pages.
- N-up printing. With N-up printing, you can print multiple pages/ documents on to a single A4 sheet, saving yet more paper.
- Change your font. This can make a surprising difference to the amount of toner you use; for instance, Century Gothic uses 30% less toner than Arial. Reducing the font size will also save toner, so consider printing in 10 or 11pt instead of 12pt. Cutting down on the amount of bold text will result in even more savings.
- Draft print/ toner save mode. Many new printers have a toner save button and all devices have a draft mode that can be accessed through the printer driver. Draft mode uses less toner than standard or best quality and is ideal for internal communication or other documents where high quality is not essential.
- Recycled paper. Gone are the days when recycled paper was poor quality, rough and wholly unsuitable for most applications. Technology has moved on and recycled paper is much higher quality these days. If you’re using a solid ink printer, the quality of the output will be the same as it would on any other paper and if you’re using a laser printer, it’s certainly going to be good enough for everyday printing.
- Compatible cartridges. Compatible cartridges are produced by remanufacturing the original, branded toner cartridges, so they are re-used rather than ending up in landfill. Contrary to what you may have heard, using compatible toners won’t invalidate your warranty. All the compatibles supplied by Printware come with their own guarantee which will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your printer in the extremely unlikely event that the toners cause a problem. You can read more about the pros and cons of compatible toners in our article, Originals or Compatibles.
- Eco mode. Printers such as the new Samsung devices have a range of Eco-friendly features which can be accessed at the touch of a button. Eco settings can be adjusted via the printer driver and can reduce paper and toner usage, as well as energy consumption. Even if your printer doesn’t have an Eco driver, you should be able to adjust the amount of time before the printer goes to sleep. When in power save or sleep mode, your printer will use a fraction of the energy that it uses in standby. Unless you have a solid ink printer, you should also turn it off at night or if it’s likely to be standing idle for extended periods of time.
It’s no coincidence that all of the above suggestions will save you money as well as reducing the size of your carbon footprint. As a responsible business, you’ll want to minimise your impact on the environment and our planet’s resources – the good news is that, in doing so, you’ll be making more efficient use of your own resources and protecting your bottom line.
by Anthony Morgan