Not all printing happens at major printing houses. Many, if not most, regularly print at home and at the office. As such, we should be individually conscious of the waste our printing habits produce. As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability, we’d like to outline a few strategies you can implement to reduce waste from everyday printing.
The simplest way to reduce paper consumption is to ask yourself: is printing this file an absolute necessity? It would be best to reconsider printing altogether if it can be sent and used digitally without hindering your workflow. Remember to double-check the document to avoid reprinting due to errors when printing is a must. Double-sided printing is also a great way to reduce the amount of paper used and the amount of energy consumed. Consciousness and awareness are key.
Other sustainable printing habits include recycling leftover paper and using recycled paper for printing. This consumes less energy and produces far less waste than new, virgin paper. Many office supply stores sell recycled paper, so look for labels that say so!
Ink cartridges, much like paper, are also a wasteful byproduct of printing. Plastic containers take hundreds of years to decompose and significantly contribute to landfills and pollution. Instead of throwing away empty ink cartridges, recycle or refill them with ink and reuse the same container! Little changes such as these benefit the environment greatly and rarely negatively impact our daily routines.
While on the subject of ink, it’s also essential to consider using eco-friendly ink instead of petroleum-based inks, which are harmful to the environment. There exist many alternatives today for reducing our carbon footprints. Plant-based and VOC-free inks require less energy than traditional, petroleum-based ink. They are biodegradable and less environmentally toxic.
Lastly, keep your printer in power-saving mode when not using it. Even when a printer is not printing, it still consumes energy! If your printer has a power-saving mode, be sure to enable it to reduce the amount of energy used daily. If that is not an option, turning off the printer completely when not in use would be best. Turning it on whenever you need to print something might be a hassle. Still, it’ll benefit the planet in the long run and might deter you from printing anything unnecessary!
Be conscious of how the little things we tend to overlook impact the environment, and try to look for small changes that can help make your routines more sustainable. Every little bit counts, no matter how small.