While printing is a necessity in today’s world, like most things in life it is not free. Aside from the costs of printers and printing-related products like laser toners, ink cartridges, drums, fusers, ect., there are also the costs of paper, ink, and energy. However, there are multiple tactics that can be employed to reduce paper, ink, and energy usage and minimize unnecessary costs. In addition to having a positive effect on your wallet, these tactics also have a positive effect on the environment and result in greener, more efficient energy usage while printing.
Turn off Printer when Not in Use
This should come as a no-brainer, but many people carelessly leave printers on when they aren’t using them. In order to save energy and minimize your energy bill, only keep printers on when you are actively using them. Leaving your printer in stand-by mode still uses energy, and sleep mode (if your printer has this option) also still uses energy, although less than stand-by. If you are not using your printer and you value saving energy over a slight increase in convenience from not having to turn the printer on and wait for the settings to load, then it is best to turn the printer off completely and save the maximum amount of energy. If you are using your printer sporadically throughout the day and do not want to turn your printer off completely, then stand-by mode is probably the best option as it does at least save some energy.
Within household and office settings alike, often times there will be multiple people using separate printers when they could be using the same printer and reducing energy usage. This is more common however in offices and schools which mainly use laser printers more conducive to high printing output. Offices and schools should limit the amount of laser printers they keep running and use collaborative printing as much as possible. Wherever it is not an inconvenience, students and employees should use the same laser printer rather than keeping an unnecessary amount of laser printers actively running.
Reduce Font Size
Sometimes changing a paper’s font size from size 16 to size 11 can cut paper usage in half. If a document does not require a higher font size and a lower font size is adequate, than the lower font size should be used in order to reduce paper and ink usage, especially when color printing.
If it is not necessary to print one-sided, then print double-sided and save paper. People do not typically think to print double-sided, however it is often more convenient and always saves paper.
Print Multiple Pages per Sheet
Printing multiple pages per sheet can be effective and convenient for printing multiple types of documents, such as PowerPoint presentations for an example. Printing multiple pages per sheet can allow someone to view multiples pages of information on one page rather than multiple pages and is also very effective in saving paper and ink.
Only Print in Color When Necessary
If your document does not require color, or it is not enhanced by the addition of color, then do not use color printing as color printing uses color ink which is more expensive than standard black ink.
Print in Draft Mode
Also known as “Toner Save” or “Economy”, Draft Mode can typically be found under the “Paper/Quality” Tab in “Properties” on your printer’s settings. Printing in Draft Mode reduces ink consumption by reducing the resolution of the printed document to 300dpi, which slightly alters the appearance of the document but is adequate for printing where the appearance of the printed document does not matter as much as long as the print is legible.
Choose a Printer According to Your Needs
Laser printers are more powerful than inkjet printers and therefore use more energy. Laser printers are built for heavy usage and have higher initial costs yet lower costs-per-page with high printing outputs. If you are purchasing a printer for your house and will not be printing often, then you are better off with an inkjet printer which has a lower initial cost and uses less energy, reducing your energy bill. If you are purchasing a printer for an office or school, or you will be using the printer often with a high printing output, then a laser printer is more suitable as it will have lower costs-per-page with the higher printing output and become more cost-effective over time.
In addition to deciding between a laser printer or an inkjet printer, you also must choose between a color printer or a standard non-color printer. Color printers are more expensive than standard non-color printers, so if you do not need/ want to print in color than the standard non-color printer is the more cost-effective choice. Color laser toner cartridges and color ink cartridges are also typically more expensive than black laser toner cartridges and black ink cartridges which must be taken into consideration as a running cost of owning the printer.
There are many multi-function printer models, both laser and inkjet, which act as an all-in-one device and are able to perform tasks such as faxing, scanning, and copying in addition to printing. Using a multi-function printer can be very effective in saving energy because you only need to have one device running, rather than multiple devices, in order to perform the various tasks.
As you can see, there are an assortment of tactics that can greatly reduce paper, ink, and energy usage when printing. Awareness of these tactics will reduce printing-related costs and positively affect the environment by minimizing waste.