9 Tips to Green your Printer
If you have a computer, you will most likely have a printer connected to it. Printers can have significant environmental impacts, including toxins and VOC released during operation, e-waste created from old printers and used cartridges, and increased paper usage.
✔ Choose the right printer – The most common printing technologies in use today are laser printers and inkjet printers. For most every day printing needs, an inexpensive ink jet will more than likely meet your needs. If you are running a small office out of your home, you may want to consider a laser printer. Laser printers are good at producing a higher quantity of prints in a shorter period of time.
✔ Check the energy saving features – When buying a printer, look for a model that has an energy-saver feature that significantly reduces the machine’s energy consumption in standby mode. This is important, since printers are often idle for long periods but continue to consume energy unless manually turned off. Although a short delay will occur before a print job begins from standby mode, this minor inconvenience is more than offset through energy savings.
✔ Make sure your printer can print in duplex – Duplex printing refers to the ability of a printer to print on both sides of the paper. Many less expensive printers may not offer this function, but most more expensive model should. If your printer does not have this ability built in, you can accomplish the same effect by printing ‘odd pages’ first (this setting will be in your print screen options), and then feeding the paper back into the tray, and printing the ‘even pages’. The result will be two-sided prints, which will save a lot of paper. Orienting the paper correctly when you print on the back may take a bit of trial-and-error, but once you have done this a few times successfully, it will be easy to remember.
✔ Buy greener paper – Buying greener paper will help reduce the environmental impact of printing. Here is a list of green paper qualities, ranked in order of eco-importance, to help you can make the best buy for your home:
- Post-Consumer Recycled Content – Also called post- consumer waste (PCW), this lets you know that a percentage of the paper has been used by consumers and recycled. Go for the highest percentage you can (shoot for 100 percent) and hold 30 percent as a minimum.
- Certified – Using a set of standards, independent third-party certification bodies help to ensure that paper products (and many other consumer goods) are produced in a sustainable manner.
- Chlorine-Free – Chlorine-free paper products are produced without chlorine or chlorine compounds to bleach them white; preferable because no dioxins or other organochlorides are released into waterways.
- Lightweight – Often when selecting paper, you can choose between different weights. Pick the lightest weight that will get the job done to save pulp and resources, as well as production waste.
✔ Try to print less – The most effective way to save paper, energy and supplies is to only print when absolutely necessary. Fight the temptation to print out emails and draft copies of documents and review these on-screen instead.
✔ Recycle waste paper – Have a recycling bin close to your printer to capture all the waste paper for recycling. If your city does not collect paper for recycling, do a quick search on the internet for a business or organization in your area that does do this.
✔ Reuse single-sided printed paper – You can reuse single- sided printouts for either scrap paper or for printing drafts (by printing on the other side).
✔ Buy an EnergyStar certified printer – Printers that have earned EnergyStar certification meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Printers are required to use energy efficient components and have sophisticated energy management features built in. The latest certification level is 5.0.
✔ Refill your empty ink cartridges – Refilling ink cartridges will not only save you money, but it will reduce the amount of cartridges in landfills. Ink cartridges can be refilled 3-4 times before they need to be thrown out. Home ink filling kits, while inexpensive are extremely messy. Consider taking them to an ink refilling company.