Greener Printing – How to Limit Your Impact On the Environment

Reducing your effect on the environment is a difficult act to accomplish with all the energy usage and plastic floating around the printing market. However, environmental printing is no longer an oxymoron and there are steps you can take to be greener in your office. Read on to see top tips from John Sollars, MD of printer cartridge supplier

1: Make your print requests green

The best way to make an instant impact for environmental printing is making changes in what, and how, you are actually printing. Simply implement these few quick points and see your wastage tumble.

Font and formatting

Getting rid of bold headers or text will cut down on ink usage for each page, especially in often-printed documents. Consider cutting down your font size and looking at physically thinner fonts (such as Century Gothic) to accentuate this saving. You would be surprised how much ink and toner you can save by shrinking your letterhead by 20% or switching to black and white formatting!

Use thinner paper

Complementing a thinner font, why not use a thinner paper? Printers are now happy with paperweights much lower than 80gsm. Thinner paper means less material used for each page. Furthermore, it cuts energy not only in manufacturing but also the printing process of applying ink/toner with heat, making it a great way to significantly cut down on your energy usage.

Reuse your paper

You’ve started using thinner paper; now get the maximum use out of it! If you’ve only used one side of a non-official document, put it back in the paper feed when doing general printing to save on your paper usage.

Duplex printing

Why go to the effort of manually reusing your paper, when a duplexer function can print on both sides of the paper automatically? Saving time and halving your paper costs, duplexers are a great way to save the environment in your everyday printing.

Print en mass

Each time your printer receives a print request it runs a small initialisation process (such as a laser printing warming up). If you hold back individual print jobs which are not of utmost importance, and instead send them through all in one go, this limits how many start-up cycles your printer will run and will save both energy and your printer consumables. Just be careful with your duplexing options if some documents need to be printed on their own individual pages.

2: Be green before you even print

Once these simple changes have been implemented in your printing, you can start making changes in your office supplies and hardware to experience great savings in both the financial and environmental costs of your office.

High Capacity Cartridges

Quite a few machines now provide both standard and high capacity cartridges. In a significant number of cases, the XL capacity cartridges are no physically larger than their standard capacity counterparts; they have simply been filled completely. Purchasing these cartridges will give you cheaper running costs and fewer waste cartridges being generated.

Refilled/Remanufactured cartridges

Returning cartridges to their original manufacturers does not guarantee being environmentally-friendly. Manufacturers very rarely reuse all parts of the cartridge due to obsessions over cartridge reliability. However, technology in new printers is predominantly housed in the printer, so the effort to recondition cartridges is small. Third party remanufactured and refilled options are a great way to guarantee the most is made out of each cartridge you use, with the majority of cartridges able to be re-used at least once before being broken down and recycled. Plus, these third party producers adhere to strict quality measures and performance benchmarks, so you needn’t worry about their performance.

Choice of printer

Could a multifunction printer handle your office workload? With only one machine using energy in the office and less materials in just one machine, it is a nice and simple way to help the environment. Just nail down the requirements of your office next time you are browsing hardware and find your ideal machine straight away. With newer machines designed for high volume use not just for printing, but every function an office requires such as copying and faxing, you really can get everything you need in one simple machine.

Standby modes

Whether in your existing machine or finding it as a feature when browsing for a new printer, standby modes for laser printers are an amazing way to limit your energy consumption. Keeping the machine active and ready-to-print drains energy throughout the day, and finding a printer which limits power needed to maintain this state is inherently important for any green-aspiring office. With some machines using a little as one watt in standby, yet going from standby to print-ready within five seconds, you can save energy without experiencing delays in your office printing.

3: Don’t forget the basics

Turn it off!

Leaving the office overnight, or for a weekend? Turn your machine off when you know it is not in demand and fully rid yourself of wasted electricity.


Binning cartridges after a single use should be a crime within the industry. Keep that plastic casing away from the landfill as long as possible by recycling. There are huge numbers of recycling companies in operation, and many will often pick up your cartridges free of charge and get those cartridges back in circulation after cleaning and reconditioning. If you have one of the few cartridges not valid for recycling then it probably means it has literally no technology within it, and is just a plastic casing. Just take it to your closest plastic recycling bin and do your part for the environment.

This business advice article was written by our business expert .

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