How to Print in The Greenest Way Possible

Posted on August 7, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

In order to combat the effects of global warming we are all being advised to adjust our lifestyles accordingly. You can contribute to an eco-friendly lifestyle by carrying out your printing in the greenest way possible.

Recycled paper

One of the easiest ways to a greener future is through recycling. Clearly, paper is necessary for printing, so one of the best ways to aid the battle against global warming is to print using recycled paper. The quality of recycled paper has improved over the years and it is now no more expensive than ‘standard paper’.

An alternative to recycled paper for your printing needs is FSC certified paper. This product is made from wood taken from managed and sustainable forests. It means you can print in the safe knowledge you are not contributing to the destruction of the world’s forests, a major contribution to global warming.

Eco-friendly ink

Using recycled or FSC certified paper is a good start for eco-friendly printing, but all that can be spoiled by using inks manufactured using toxic chemicals, which serve to increase global warming. However, it is possible to carry on printing and remain ‘earth friendly’ by using only eco-friendly inks.

Eco friendly

An alternative to using petroleum-based inks is to use those derived from vegetable oils, such as soy. While the amount of petroleum used in world is finite, vegetables, such as soy, flax, canola and safflower, which are used in the production of ink, are renewable.

‘Green’ cartridges

Anyone wanting to print in an eco-friendly manner will face a major problem, namely the cartridges; it takes roughly three litres of oil to manufacture one ink cartridge. Many end up in landfill sites, so adding to the problem of global pollution.

One of the best ways to ‘go green’ is not to replace cartridges every time they are emptied, but refill them. The key thing is therefore to purchase only refillable cartridges.

Energy efficiency and printing

All printers are powered by electricity. One of the best ways to save on those electricity bills and curb global warming is to unplug the appliance when it is not in use. Also, when purchasing a new printer ensure that it is energy efficient.

Fonts and Formatting

It’s not just the printer or ink that can help you print in a more environmentally friendly manner. There are a number of things you can do to cut down on the amount of ink you are using to print, saving both your money and the environment a little bit at a time.

When it comes to printing out documents or information from the web you plan ahead a little and use tools such as print friendly that allow you to get rid of all the useless bits of information you don’t need such as URLs or ads on pages. Not only does it save ink but it can make a document look aesthetically better too!

Fonts in particular can be a great way to save a lot of ink over time. There have been a number of studies and research into which common fonts use less ink, and results have shown that Garamond and Courier are the top two, which is probably why a lot of books including the Harry Potter series are usually printed in 12pt Adobe Garamond.

If you really want to save ink, then there are specifically designed fonts made purely to do just that. Ecofont is the perfect example, the font incorporates small holes or gaps into each letter that are barely visible to the naked eye, meaning that you use less ink while maintaining quality.

Printer Settings

Make sure that your printer is set to the optimum settings before you print. This means going into the preferences menu and selecting the correct type of paper you are printing on, whether you want to print in monochrome or full colour, the print quality (draft whenever you can) and if your printer allows it then print double sided. All these settings may not seems like much, but over time they will save you a lot of ink and paper.

Author Bio: Kyle works as a writer for the printer cartridge company Cartridge Express and has years of experience within the recycling and printer industry. You can follow them on twitter here.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.


  1. Adam Brown says

    Hi Nikhil P Naik,
    Thanks for sharing this great post !
    The green concept is really attractive and environment friendly too.Hope that the green print will be accepted by most of the users.

    Thanks again

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