Print Smart - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renew

In this article, the second in the Cheap Ink Article series, we give you some green printing tips which will help you save money and trees and also reduce waste.

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Cheap Ink Article Series:
1. Buy Ink smart
3. Install smart printer software

Tip: Read our other Green Printing Articles!

Save money and reduce waste by printing smart

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Printing smart seems to be easier said than done. How many times have you not ended up with printed blank pages or pages with just one line of text? Or even worse, handing out loads of paper during the business meeting to people barely looking at them?

You can save money on paper, ink, toner and maintenance costs by starting to print smart - the keywords in this effort are Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renew.

Below are some simple guidelines to cut down on your printing costs and at the same time save oil, plastics, aluminum, electricity and paper lowering the impact on Mother Nature.

Smart printing tips:
» Think before you Print!
» Optimize your Print Layout
» Print in Draft Mode
» Select the Page Section to be printed
» Print to PDF instead of printing on paper
» Use the Print Preview and Shrink to Fit functionality
» Enable the printers power management
» Invest in a All-In-One Printer
» Buy Remanufactured Cartridges or Refill your old
» Use a Follow-Me-Printing solution
» Use smart Printing Software
» Start recycling your printer cartridges

Think before you Print!

The most important thing is to think before you hit the print button. Is the printout really needed or could you do without it? Also, proof your document before you print it. Many reprints are due to detected spelling errors when reading the physical paper copy.

Optimize your Print Layout

1. If your printer is capable of printing double-sided i.e. duplex - enable and use this functionality! Paper needs can be cut up to 40 percent by taking this simple step.

2. Use smaller sized fonts or consider using Ecofont or EverGreen font that can save you up to ~15% of the ink consumption. Specific instructions on how to change the default font to Eco font when using Windows or Mac can be found here.

3. If possible, print multiple pages per sheet. Tip: Choose "Handouts" and the number of slides when printing in Powerpoint or choose 2 pages per sheet when printing Word documents.

4. Reduce the margins in your document editor to .75" and create templates in order to have optimized documents. Below is an instruction to how you change the margins in MS Word:

PC
4.1 Go to File and choose Page Set Up
4.2 Click on the Margins tab, enter .75" (or 2 centimeters for those metric system users).
4.3 Click the Default button on the Margins tab and press Yes to accept the changes

MAC
4.1 Go to Format and Document
4.2 Click on Margins, enter .75" (or 2 centimeters for those metric system users)
4.3 Click the Default button on the Margins tab and press Yes to accept the changes

Print in Draft Mode

How often are your printouts so important that you need to have them in really good print quality?

You can save a lot of ink and also print considerably faster if you set your printer to print in draft mode instead. To enable this, go the control panel and your printer's folder. Right click your printer, select properties and select Draft as printing quality. To save your expensive color ink cartridges or toner cartridges, you can also enable the function to only print in grayscale.

Select the Page Section to be printed

In MS Office applications like Excel and Word + major browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox you have the option of printing a selected area in the document.

Use this functionality by first marking the porting of the document that you want to print and then launching the print dialog box. You should now have the option of only printing the selected area in the Print Range option.

If you are printing a web page, even more advanced options exists. Read our Printing Web Page Guide to get more tips on this.

Print to PDF instead of printing on paper

Are you one of those that print a document to be able to send it by snail mail or fax?

Consider converting the document to PDF first and then send it by email or fax saving you the paper work. Tips on free PDF printers can be found in our PDF Software section.

Use the Print Preview and Shrink to Fit functionality

Always use the print preview functionality to check the document layout before printing. If you are using Microsoft Word extensively consider using the "Shrink one Page" option in Print Preview mode, this will make Word try to reduce the size of the document.

Printing web pages can be especially tricky due to the different layouts on web pages. If you use the Internet Explorer or Firefox browser you have a option called "Shrink to Fit" in the print preview dialog. This function shrinks the content on the web page so it fits on fewer pages. For more advanced web page printing tips, read our Printing Web Page Guide. 

Enable the printers power management

Most modern printers have power management functionality which will turn vital printer functions off when possible. These functions are designed to meet energy efficiency standards. Functions often included are going into power save mode if the printer is inactive during a certain  period of time or an automatic shut off during evenings, nights and weekends.

Invest in a All-In-One printer

Invest in a All-In-One printer making it possible to scan documents and send them as a file instead of faxing and copying paper. Use the internet for what it is good for - distribution!

Not only do you save money. You will also save time spent on storing, searching, retrieving and managing the documents if you also add a solution for capturing the contents of the scanned documents.

Buy Remanufactured Cartridges or Refill your old

Make sure the laser toner cartridges or inkjet ink cartridges you are buying are made out of recycled materials or start refilling the old ones yourself. Printer cartridges (i.e. both ink and toner) that are built on recycled materials are most often labeled as remanufactured. Read more on what resource savings are made by reading our remanufactured cartridges article!

Use a Follow-Me-Printing solution

If you are a larger office, consider installing a Follow-Me-Printing solution. This will force employees to be physically present to the printer to get the printouts. Since people often are lazy, this enforces the "Think before you print" rule.

Use smart printing software

Luckily, software and services solutions exist to help you print smarter. Visit our smart printing software article to get some inspiration!

Start recycling your printer cartridges

Return your empty printer cartridges back to the loop by sending them to a cartridge recycler. Learn how much money you save and what good you do for nature by reading our printer cartridge recycling article!

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