Your Guide to Greener Printing
Frequent printing can be ecologically costly as well as financially. You may think that as emailing becomes more popular, the use of paper would decline, you are wrong. Paper isn’t the only culprit; printer ink can leak out of cartridges into landfill sites and pollute the surrounding environment. Also, printers can use energy even when they are left in standby mode. However, it is not difficult to make your home or office more environmentally friendly. We have compiled a list of the top ways to make your printing habits greener!
1. Use recycled ink cartridges
Every year millions of used ink cartridges end up in landfill sites across the country. When an ink cartridge ends up in landfill, the remaining ink contaminates volatile organic chemicals in the surrounding environment. An ink cartridge is made up mainly of plastic and oil based products and requires roughly 1000 years to fully decompose. We currently use over 65 million ink cartridges each year in the UK and currently 85% of these end up in landfill. It makes ecological sense to purchase remanufactured ink cartridges. They are original brand cartridges which have been recycled, fully tested, thoroughly cleaned out and then refilled to their highest capacity with professional grade ink.
2. Recycle your old ink cartridges
Make sure you keep your used ink cartridges out of landfill sites by recycling them. Many ink cartridge companies now provide instructions, packaging materials and free postage if you wish to recycle your old cartridges, which can then be refilled and used again. You can also recycle laser toner cartridges as well as inkjet cartridges.
3. Use recycled paper
In the UK the majority of paper comes from sustainable forests. A sustainable forest is one that is planted, harvested and replanted primarily for the purpose of paper production. This is opposed to wild forests which are cut down and never replaced. However, even sustainable forests are often uniform stands of fast growing soft wood trees. These companies will cut down slow growing, diverse hard wood forests to plant these new trees. The smaller soft wood trees are unable to support the areas eco system as well, so they are still not environmentally ideal. Also, the paper manufacturing and bleaching process releases harmful toxins into the atmosphere. You can help this by using less new paper and more recycled paper. Many people believe that recycled paper is discoloured, marked, and generally a much lower quality than new paper. This is not true and quality recycled paper can look identical to new paper and isn’t even much more expensive. You should also try to reuse any unwanted paper. Instead of throwing away old documents you can shred them and use them as packaging material. You can also collect unwanted single sided prints and reuse them as note or scrap paper.
4. Print on both sides of the paper
A huge amount of paper is wasted every day because people only print on one side of the paper. If your printer has a duplex setting, you should use it whenever possible. If your printer does not have a duplex setting it is still feasible to print on both sides of the paper. Although this can be more time consuming for longer documents, you can print one page at a time and then reload the page to print on the other side. If your printer doesn’t have a duplex setting, this is something you should look out for when purchasing your next printer.
5. Try to print less and use fewer colours
Printing less saves both paper and ink. You should try to limit your printing whenever possible. Send an email instead of a hard copy and avoid printing emails for your records. You can back up your important files electronically on to your computers hard drive. Try to conserve your ink as much as possible by ensuring your current ink cartridge lasts as long as possible. Only replace your ink cartridge when it is actually empty, not just when your printer tells you it is empty. When you purchase your next printer, look for one which has individual cartridges as opposed to an all in one, this is so you don’t have to replace every colour when only one runs out. Also, if you are printing a rough document, make sure your print setting is draft mode and black ink. The less ink you use on your print outs, the less ink will eventually end up in landfill. Try to print in black ink or simple two tone graphics when you can. This isn’t just good for the environment but is also good for your wallet.
6. Turn off your printer
When you have finished using your printer at the end of the day ensure you turn it off completely. Ensure that any printing equipment that is not used on a daily basis is switched off rather than left on stand-by.
Many people think that being environmentally friendly will be expensive and inconvenient. This is not true and the above tips will save you money at the same time as benefiting the planet and they are not even difficult to follow!