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Sustainable print options for home and business

What exactly is ‘sustainable printing’? Apart from being a serious and brilliant-sounding pairing of words, it turns out to be more than just a gimmicky phrase. Ultimately, sustainable printing boils down to taking care not to print more than is absolutely necessary. This is, of course, for the benefit of the environment – but also for the benefit of your business budget! Stretching the pennies as far as they can possibly go is always desirable to any sensible organisation, and managing print so that it is sustainable is a clever way to do that. But how do you print sustainably? What options are available to you?

In this article we’ll be looking at ways you can cover off your printing needs but without slipping into the realms of mega-waste and over-spending.

Duplex Printing

Again, a great sounding phrase! This one means printing on both sides of the paper. This is a pretty obvious cost-saving measure, really – but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do it, or don’t actually know how to.

There are printers available which can be set-up to automatically print in this way. All it takes is a minor adjustment through the printer software on your PC or laptop, and you can duplex print your document. You should also be able to set the printer as a duplex printer as the default.

Or, if your model doesn’t have the facility for automatic duplex printing, a little bit of logical thinking and trial and error will help you work out the way to do it manually. By putting paper that has already had one side printed into the print tray in the correct alignment, you should be able to get two-sided documents fairly easily.

The brilliant thing about duplex printing is that if it is strictly adhered to, you should see your overall print costs dramatically fall due to far less paper use.

Cut printing costs

A couple more tips to reduce the cost of printing

Reduce size and change font: You might just print straight from your word processor (say) without thinking too much about things like font size. But a simple reduction by a point could be the difference between printing out five sides of paper and printing out three. All that will add up over time!

Re-use waste paper: This is where using a printer can achieve jigsaw-like connection to other tasks. You can use the reverse side of no longer needed single-sided prints for things like making notes during research or in meetings. Basically it means using everything you possibly can and not wasting anything!

Ink and Toner: Basic logic

Believe it or not, it’s possible to exercise some control over the use of your printer’s ink or toner and therefore have a bit of an impact on the sustainability of your printing set-up. Things like using lower quality settings for your prints, or printing in black and white as opposed to colour, will help prolong the life of your ink or toner.

Taking care when printing from the internet, by opening the page you intend to print as a Word document (or whichever word processing program you use) and removing unnecessary things like additional imagery, advertising bars, links etc. Also, set the print to black and white. You will, logically, use less ink or toner so save money.

Buy in bulk / buy higher yield cartridges: Yield means the maximum amount of pages you can get out of a single ink or toner cartridge. Page yield figures described in the specifications section of product listings refer to the maximum you are going to get out of that cartridge. The realistic way to look at this is that the actual figure will be lower. But yield is, generally, a very good guide.  Also, buy in bulk if you can.

Ink and Toner: Own brand benefits

When you buy the manufacturer’s ‘own brand’ ink or toner you are setting yourself up to succeed. The ink or toner will have been specifically developed to work with that manufacturer’s devices, and though the temptation may be to buy cheaper imitation cartridges it will turn out to be a false economy.

Not only will using ‘fake’ cartridges in your printer void the warranty in some cases, it will also have a detrimental effect on the quality of your printing. It’s just not possible to rival genuine printer ink. You’ll end up having to print out multiple copies of what you’re doing due to poor colour reproduction or graininess, and you’ll probably end up buying more ink to see if that ‘solves the problem’. Counterfeit ink and toner could also damage the inner workings of your printer, which would leave you with the major inconvenience of having to repair or replace.


Print plans

A really brilliant way to make your printing more sustainable, more cost effective and as low impact as possible is to subscribe to a progressive scheme like HP’s Instant Ink. 

In some instances you will receive a new printer from HP, and it will be set to inform you when you are about to run out of ink. HP will automatically send you new cartridges so that you have them ready before you need to install them. Therefore, there will be no gap between cartridges running out and getting new ones – so no dip in productivity.

HP Instant Ink revolves around the number of pages you print per month, not the number of cartridges. In effect, you tell HP how many pages you will be printing over the next month, and they provide the appropriate number of cartridges. Obviously it is not possible to give exact figures of how many pages will be printed in advance – but one of the great benefits is that if you set your plan at (let’s say) 4,000 but you only print 3,350 then 650 will roll over to the next month’s allowance. You can also change the parameters of your plan at any time – or cancel it altogether without a penalty.

That’s it. Just a few ways to make your business (or home) printing a bit more of a sustainable activity or cost. As ever, Ebuyer stocks an array of printers designed to make your life easier – so go check them out. Happy printing!

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