Six ways to green your printing – and save

Many of us go through a lot of paper and ink each year using a home or office printer.  But we can pretty dramatically cut reduce the amount we use – and buy – with a few easy changes.

Of course, it’s worth it to consider whether you really have to print something before you do.  Cloud computing and mobile devices make it less necessary all the time.  But if you do need to print, here are some ways to make it greener and cheaper.

Re-use paper printed on one side, and print double-sided.  If one side of a piece of paper is blank, consider it reusable.  Save mail, school notices, or take home outdated flyers or stationery from work, and use it in your printer.  Printing double-sided will save paper and money, too.

Buy recycled paper and toner cartridges, and add ink.  If you need to use new paper, buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content.  Donate your used toner cartridges, and buy re-manufactured ones. 

Download Eco-Font.  Want to cut down on ink consumption and keep ink cartridges out of the landfill?   A Dutch company called Eco-Font has created a font that looks just like any other font to the naked eye, but is actually composed of tiny inkless circles.  It reduces ink use by 20%, and it’s downloadable for free.

Print in “draft” or “economode.”  Unless your document needs to look perfect, printing in a slightly lower resolution will work just fine, and will keep toner cartridges out of the landfill.  Here’s how to set Word to print in draft, and how to set HP printers to print in Economode.  

Change your margins.  By shrinking the margins around the text you’re printing to .75″, you can save almost 5% in paper usage.  If the entire U.S. were to adopt these slightly smaller margins, the Change The Margins campaign estimates a savings of over 6 million trees annually.  Here’s how to change your margins on a PC or a Mac.