How to Be an Eco-Friendly Printing Star
Concerned about how printing impacts the environment? Yea, we are too! Allow us to fill you in on how the industry works, what the most 'green' printing choices are, and how you you can be eco-savvy with your own printing.
Making a single toner cartridge produces 4.8 kilograms of CO2 emissions and uses up to a gallon of non-renewable oil. Ink cartridges use three ounces of oil in their manufacturing process. Energy is used, waste is created (and not always disposed of properly) and non-renewable resources are required to make all ink and toner cartridges.
It's estimated that only 25% of the millions of ink and toner cartridges sold are recycled. 75% of them end up in our landfills and will take around 1,000 years to fully decompose. As well, improper disposal in landfills releases harmful chemicals and carcinogens (VOCs, heavy metals, EDTA etc) into the environment that contaminate soil and water.
97% of cartridge components are reusable and can be recycled! As for toners, each remanufactured cartridge saves almost 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic waste (plus oil & other non-renewable resources) from landfills.
97% of cartridge components are reusable and can be recycled!
CHOOSE INK OR TONER
There are green options for both ink and toner, but it's helpful to know the specifics and impacts of both. The most important thing is getting the right printer for your needs so you can use it most efficiently! (If you need more help with that, we've blogged about how to choose the right printer here)
OUTPUT & EFFICIENCY
Toner cartridges usually last longer and are more efficient than ink, especially when the highest capacity version is used. Using high capacity (XL) ink cartridges are a good option too. Laser printers usually consume more energy to print as compared to inkjet printers.
Ink is generally easier on the environment vs. toner in terms of metal, plastic, packaging & non-renewable resources like oil used per cartridge. High capacity toner cartridges can be a great choice.
Both ink and toner cartridges can be recycled and up to 97% of their components reused or repurposed.
Refill your ink cartridges to reduce landfill waste, packaging and non-renewable resources used.
Purchase high capacity ink and toner cartridges. More ink or toner in the same cartridge and packaging reduces waste, lasts much longer and is most often better value for your money.
Print with your ink cartridges at least once a week. This will reduce overall ink consumption by keeping your printer in tip top shape - no more ink heavy clean cycles and clogs! Toner doesn't dry out - no extra printing is necessary with laser printers.
Refill your ink cartridges as many times as you can. Re-using them as many times as possible is the most green and inexpensive option.
Print double-sided whenever possible.
Use waste paper to do print tests or draft work.
Ensure you recycle ALL ink and toner cartridges for free (either with us or other recyclers) when you're finished with them. This saves them from the landfill and ensures they will be re-manufactured or used in making something else.
Take old printers, cables, cords and other electronics to an electronics recycling depot or donate them to charity.
Have a bin near your printer so you remember to recycle waste paper.
Now you're ready to take your eco-friendly printing to the next level! Feel free to like and share this post if it helped you and let us know if we missed any green printing tips you've thought of.