Too Much Printing is Bad for Zero Waste and Your Wallet!We should always try to reduce our need to print things off for environmental reasons, money-saving reasons, and organizational/storage reasons. As a homeschooling mom of a preschooler and soon-to-be toddler (age 1 starts the toddler years) however, I find myself printing off a few free worksheets as part of their curriculum. Younger children need hands-on work to learn handwriting, coloring, etc. Since neither Mr. Greenie or I feel that we can go paperless for my kids' classical education, we seek to reduce our environmental impact and use as little resources as possible in our printing practices. Here are my zero waste printing secrets for reducing printing waste and saving money!:
Get it Used and Use It Better1. Our printer/copier/scanner/fax machine is multi-functional and was acquired used. (We received it from our local Buy Nothing Project group for free!) Since we use one machine for all of our office needs, we don't have to store, run, or maintain multiple electronics. Since we acquired the machine used, we reduced the demand for a new machine/several machines that our used all-in-one would be replaced by. We also saved money on buying a new all-in-one.
The Phantom Power is There..Wasting Your Money2. We unplug our computer and printer when we aren't using them or the laptop is charged. This saves energy from phantom power and money from both the electric bill as well as the extra wear and tear of keeping it constantly plugged in.
The Answer Is in the Mail3. We reuse one-sided junk mail or old documents for printing. Someday I will make our paper from used or better yet parchment (made from fabric scraps or lint vs wood pulp). Either way, I don't buy paper made from virgin forests. If I ever needed to print double-sided documents, I would use 100% post-consumer content recycled paper or homemade.
Refreshing the Cartridges4. We reset our ink cartridges, so we can use them until completely empty. This saves us from needing to buy re-manufactured ink cartridges or refilling (see #5), this saves us money and reduces our packaging waste.
Reusing the Cartridges5. After our ink cartridges are reset and verified to be completely empty, we refill our ink cartridges. We bought this universal color & black printer ink refill kit. It does come heavily packaged however, so while you will reduce overall packaging from buying even re-manufactured ink cartridges, there's quite a bit of packaging, as seen below. You won't need to buy the refill kit for awhile though, as the heavy printer user's refill tutorial shows in the first link in this paragraph. She bought one cartridge in two years because of user error and is still reusing the same kit! What a money saver!
Recycle and Earn Money for More Cartridges6. After we can no longer reuse/refill our re-manufactured ink cartridges, we will then recycle the cartridges and earn cash for it.
Now that you've refused the print jobs you don't need, reduced the need for a new electronics by acquiring a used all-in-one printer, reduced the energy needed to print, reused free paper and reused recycled cartridges by refilling when completely empty, and recycled the cartridges when they were no longer able to be refilled; you have saved money and helped lessen your environmental impact. Here's to economical being fully ecological!
Little Urban Greenie
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