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12 Ways to Be Greener, More Productive and Cost Efficient With Your Printer

Updated on July 15, 2012
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In our digital world converting to analog, printed documents can be expensive in terms of time, money, and the environment. By following some simple tips, businesses and individuals can go green and become more efficient when printing.

1. Keep single sided prints for scratch paper. When printing there are likely going to be drafts you don’t need to keep so by reusing the paper for reprinting, writing, notes or allowing your kids to color on will allow you to recycle the paper rather than scrap it.

2. Use scratch paper by default and print on new paper only when necessary. If you have a multi-tray printer, it is easy to load the scratch paper into your default try and set a secondary try for fresh paper.

3. Label your printers details. One of the common printing errors comes from feeding the paper incorrectly. Labeling the paper trays with notes like “face up” or “face down” will serve as a reminder of the proper way to feed forms, envelops, and other documents to avoid reprints.

4. Print in “draft” mode to save ink. According to some sources on the web, using a draft or Eco mode on your printer may result in between 20% and 70% reduction in usage. Using less ink or toner saves money and landfill space by reducing the number of cartridges you need to replace.

5. Set your printer to default to multiple pages per side. Many printers will allow you to print to or more pages per side, I default my print driver to 2 pages per side to use half as much paper and only change it to one page per side when absolutely necessary.

6. Invest in a printer capable of duplexing and use it. I extend my saving further for most printed output by printing in duplex , which allows me to net four pages per piece of paper when used in conjunction with printing two pages per side.

7. Use a laser printer and avoid color. The cost per page is significantly less on a per page basis when printing on a laser printer than an inkjet, not to mention they are generally faster.

8. Choose a multifunction device. There are multifunction printer, copier, fax, and scan devices that meet the will meet the needs for users from one to a large department; choose a multifunction device to eliminate the waste created by investing in multiple devices that serve a single purpose.

9. Pause your print queue. If you are working with a shared printer and will be printing multiple documents, pause your print queue until you are ready to retrieve the documents from the printer to ensure that they are grouped together and other jobs don't slip between yours.

10. Take your print off the printer. It never ceases to amaze me how many print jobs go unclaimed with a shared printer. Even in my small work group with about ten people sharing one printer, there is usually a piece of paper just sitting on the printer. If you do not need it, do not print it; if you need the hard copy pick it up!

11. Just do not print. Save yourself the hassle and use a projector during meetings to avoid the extraneous printouts that are generated. If somebody wants a copy following the meeting you can always e-mail it later.

12. Recycle your cartridges. While ink and toner do not pose an inherent health risk introducing the chemicals to a landfill is not the friendliest. Most major office supply chains now offer recycling programs to allow consumers to drop off toner cartridges for properly recycling including refurbishment.

13. Consider using refurbished/refilled cartridges. I offer this suggestion with a word of caution that this may void a manufacture warranty and not all refurbished cartridges are of equal quality. If you work in a business, you can implement a recycling program with a reputable refiller who will not only provide a warranty on their product but also guarantee cleaning and repair services caused by damaged cartridge. This is a common approach to overcome concerns over loss of manufacturer warranty and ensure your hardware is safe—this is much more difficult for consumers based on the limited relationship they are likely to have but still worth considering.

By following some of the tips, you will find that you can save time, money, and make the world a little greener when dealing with printers and printed output.

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