The paper trail we leave behind is cutting a wide swath through the environment. What started out as a dim trail with the Egyptian’s use of papyrus has grown into a freeway with our current amount of paper and printer ink consumption. Back in the 1970’s the “paperless office” became a common term as new technology was introduced leading us to believe that the need for paper, ink, and printers would soon be a thing of the past.
The truth is the demand for paper has been increasing an average of 2.5 percent per year. As the flow of information grows exponentially, society’s reliance on printing has grown with it. Dependence on paper has grown steadily since personal computer’s came on the scene and even more so with the advent of the internet. At present it is estimated that 2 percent of greenhouse gases are the result of paper consumption. That’s a sizable figure, but it doesn’t even include the carbon footprint left from the ink and printers we use.
All of us can contribute to keeping our environment green by watching how much we print and how we print. As a bonus, we’ll not only save the planet but some money as well. Below are some tips on how to be environmentally responsible in our printing habits.
Saving the environment one sheet at a time
Buy a green printer
A number of environmentally friendly printers are available on the market. For example, the HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 AiO uses 50 percent less power than its competition and leaves noticeably smaller carbon footprint as well. But there are other printers for the home or small office that will help lessen your impact on the environment.
Simply put, print on both sides of the paper. If your printer doesn’t have an auto duplexing feature then manually feeding the paper through on the other side could be a bit of a hassle. If your business prints a large number of pages you should have a printer with the duplexing feature.
Use print preview
Stop printing off extra pages you don’t need or want. How many times have you printed an itinerary or a Web page only to have the last page print a single line of text or contain useless information? Also use Internet Explorer’s and Firefox’s shrink to fit feature, which will shrink the information to fit on fewer pages. Microsoft Word also has a useful feature called “Shrink One Page” which, if possible, will manipulate the size and spacing of a document to reduce it by one page.
Print using the draft settings
For pages that aren’t important or going out to clients, save ink by printing in draft or fast print mode.
Print to PDF
Instead of printing to paper, print your files to PDF. You can then easily send them via e-mail instead of printing them out.
By following these simple suggestions each one of us can make a contribution to the preservation of our environment. It only takes a minimal amount of effort and attention on our part to help reduce waste and save a few dollars at the same time.