Ocean Currents

Tips for Greening Your Printer

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This one goes out to everyone who has sat though class or a meeting straining your eyes to read a document on a tiny phone screen because you didn’t want to waste paper printing it out. We admire your dedication to our environment! But the truth is, no matter how diligent you are about limiting your printer use, there will be times when you need a paper copy. So how do you make sure your printer is as low-impact as possible?

1. Set up your printer to print double-sided by default.

Every printer and computer will be a little different, so you may need to consult the manual or do a simple Google search for how to set up duplex printing on your printer model. Here is a guide that should work for most printers on a Windows operating system.

1. Click the “start” button in the lower left corner.

2. Select “Control Panel.”

3. Double-click “Devices and Printers,” “Printers” or “Printers and Faxes,” depending on what option you have.

4. Right-click your default printer and select “Printer Preferences.”

5. Select the “Finishing” tab and check the box that says “Print on both sides.”

6. Click “Apply” and finish by hitting “OK.”

2. Unplug your printer when it’s not in use.

Printers and other appliances can act as “energy vampires,” sucking up energy even when they’re not in use. Lower your power bill and save every by unplugging your printer and other appliances when you don’t need them. You can learn more about how much power appliances consume when they are switched off or not performing their primary function here.

3. Recycle your ink and toner cartridges.

E-waste can be problematic in landfills, and even more problematic if if ends up in our ocean, where dangerous chemicals and metals can leach into the water. Many electronics stores, such as Staples, OfficeMax and WalMart have e-waste recycling programs. Sometimes, you can even receive rewards points for dropping off printer cartridges at the register.  Some printer manufacturers even make it easy for you to send your empty cartridges straight to them for recycling.

4. Reuse scrap paper.

If you have a collection of one-side printed pages, you can reuse them and make a handy notebook. Simply cut the pages into quarters, pile them up so all the blank pages are facing up, and clip them together with a sturdy binder clip. Depending on what you need, you can cut the paper as large or small as you like, so you can keep it at your desk for drafting or in your purse or pocket for on-the-go notes.

Get more tips like this every week by downloading Rippl™, Ocean Conservancy’s iPhone app that makes it easy to live sustainably.

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