Monday, January 26, 2009

Greener Printing From Your Computer

Before you print that next document, here are some ways you can achieve greener printing from your computer.

  1. Make sure you are using an EnergyStar printer (and computer). You may think this one's a no-brainer and you've got it covered, but wait...did you know that computer standards were revised in 2007 and new printer standards take effect this year? So if your computer is older that 2007 and your printer is older than 2009, it may no longer meet EnergyStar standards, even though it met the standards that were in place at the time it was manufactured. If you should decide to upgrade, don't forget to recycle the old one!

  2. Change the margins. Read the studies from both Penn State University and Michigan State University. The Penn State study suggested that changing all university printer default margins to .75” (adding 19% more print space to the page) could save the university over $122,000/year and Michigan State estimated a savings of $67,512/year.

  3. Use paper with recycled content. Although both the Penn State and Michigan State studies found that switching to recycled content paper was more expensive, this has not been the case in my consulting experience. Many businesses that are not under contractual purchasing agreements do have the flexibility to comparison shop. A recent client was able to save 10% on paper costs by switching from virgin fiber to recycled content paper. Other "green" options are to look for unbleached paper or, better yet, tree-free paper!

  4. Recycle and buy recycled. Recycle your paper, toner cartridges, and ink jet cartridges. And don't forget to buy recycled, too!

  5. Install software to manage and reduce paper usage. Print management software programs (such as PaperCut, GreenPrint, and many others) can reduce printed pages and printer waste.

  6. Use vegetable-based ink toner. SoyPrint is an environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based toner. Look for additional vegetable-based toners and ink jet cartridges to hit the market soon.

  7. Change the font. A Dutch company has created Ecofont, a new font that requires up to 20% less ink. Ecofont is free to download and use.

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