Printing is unavoidable in a variety of settings, from personal to academic and professional. But printing can also pose significant environmental costs, from the paper itself to the ink and energy. At a time when the environment is under siege from so many sources, it’s important to look for ways to reduce our ecological footprint. Here are some simple tips to make your daily printing more eco-friendly.
Find a Green Ink Supplier
While printing less is always preferable, not every ink is created equal. Some ink providers make their environmental impact a top priority, and using their ink demonstrates your commitment to an eco-friendly office or home. While traditional ink is harmful to the environment, there are soy- and vegetable-based inks that use renewable resources.
One way to find out whether an ink manufacturer is active about their environmental practices is to check if they are ISO certified. Needham Inks, for example, is a British ink manufacturer that is ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 18001 certified. These certifications demonstrate the company’s commitment to managing its internal and external impact on the environment. So, with a bit of research, you can move your home or office to an environmentally conscious ink supplier, which is a simple yet efficient way of reducing your ecological impact.
Ok, so you might not be able to go entirely paperless—it’s almost impossible to remove every need for printing. But there are still ways to cut down on printing, and recent technology has made it easier than ever to find paperless solutions to common situations.
There are already applications and websites filling niches previously occupied by paper. Every computer and smartphone, for example, offers the ability to take digital notes, and there are free and paid options available for those looking for more robust options. You can even scan documents with a smartphone or tablet, allowing you to save a digital copy.
One of the most effective methods of reducing the impact of printing is also among the easiest. Rather than leaving a blank side on every printed sheet, simply choose to print on both sides, cutting the number of sheets necessary in half. Implementing this standard company-wide will have a substantial effect on both financial and environmental costs.
All modern printers and computers should be compatible with this option, and it’s very simple to set up from the printing menu. However, if you implement it in a campus or workplace, you may need to provide employees and/or students with instructions on how to choose this option when printing.
Use Print Preview
Another quick and easy tip to reduce printing waste is simply using the print preview option before sending your documents to the printer. We’ve all printed something out only to notice an obvious error, typo, or other mistakes, and these issues can be drastically reduced by simply looking at the document digitally before printing.
While it’s common to use print preview for obvious, glaring errors, you should start taking a closer look at your documents before printing. By proofreading a printed document, you’re significantly increasing the likelihood of printing multiple times just to address a small error. Over time, and with the paper usage levels common in offices and schools, this will have a significant impact.
Recycle your Cartridges
Recycling ink and toner cartridges is an obvious method of cutting down waste, yet many people aren’t aware of the benefits or exactly how to recycle their cartridges. Manufacturers offer their own recycling programs to make things easy on users, so all you need to do is look for your manufacturer’s instructions online.
Making recycling an office-wide standard will quickly reduce waste, so make it as easy as possible for your employees to start recycling. It’s usually free of charge when done through the manufacturer, but there are also third parties who will donate to charity or even pay you for recycled cartridges. Many cartridge components can be reused, cutting down the need for new resources.
Many people are becoming more conscious of their environmental impact, and the idea of thinking globally but acting locally is a great one to follow. If we all made these small-scale adjustments to our daily personal and professional lives, we could effect incredible results over time. Printing is an easy target for eco-friendly change.
Tyler Johnson says
That’s cool that most companies will recycle your cartridges for you. I have no clue how to do it myself, so that would be useful. I would want to make sure that my cartridges don’t just end up in the dump, so it would be nice to be able to be a little bit easier on the environment.
Susan Crawford says
Sadly, a lot of people think recycling or cutting down on waste is a hassle and therefore avoid it. If only people could know how easy it is. That would definitely help with keeping our planet green.