Save Paper & Ink

     My Grandmother would send us hand-written letters from time to time. She’d start on the front of the page. When that was filled, she’d continue on the back of the page. When that was filled she’d return to the front of the page and fill the top margin, then the right-hand margin (turning the paper side-ways), then the bottom margin, then the left margin. Then she’d turn the paper over again and fill the margins on the back side. When she had completely run out of room, that was the end of her letter.
     We thought it was humorous for her to do that rather than use another sheet of paper. Now, we do the same thing in order to save paper, in order to save trees, in order to save the environment.
In 2014 I took this one step further and made a resolution to only print on 100% Post-Consumer Waste (PCW) or Tree-Free paper.
In 2014 I started Yellow Bear Journeys Printing and Publishing to offer low-volume, tree-free printing using non-toxic ink, services to others. Please contact me for more information.

     One method of saving paper is to use junior size legal pads. If most of your writing consists of notes and your notes do not usually take more than that size sheet of paper, this will save paper. You can turn it over for another set of notes. Better yet, use a regular sheet of paper folded in half horizontally, so that you have two smaller sheets of paper (when turned sideways). Using a sheet of paper that’s already been printed on one side works, but only if the print isn't dense enough to make it hard to take/read your notes.

     You can make your own paper out of many things, even broccoli. Most recipes include recycling newspapers or scraps of other paper, but you probably have plenty of paper that you’re recycling anyway. For a Green Office, Paper Saving, Tree-Free Paper seminar, contact me at Yellow Bear Journeys and let me know that you’re interested. I can include Making Hand-Made Paper, but I'll need to bring along a hand-made paper expert. It takes me about 6 months to set these seminars up, and I usually do them in Olympia, WA, but am open to doing one in your locale.

     Perhaps the simplest methods of saving paper and printer ink are presented by Print Greener and Change the Margins. Print Greener sells GreenPrint Software which intercepts what you’re printing on you computer before it reaches the printer and allows you to specify which pages to not print. Print Greener also sells the Evergreen Font which spaces letters closer together, saving paper and ink by printing more in less space. Change the Margins is a campaign which encourages reducing your word processing default margins to three-quarter (.75) inches. Of course you can reduce them even more (depending on your printer and if you want page headers and/or footers). Change the Margins also has a petition to ask Microsoft to change the defaults to three-quarter inches. I recommend changing the margins to one-quarter (.25) inches.

     Other changes you can make on your computer include changing your printer to always print in duplex (double-sided) mode when possible – provided your printer prints in duplex reliably. Or you can print one page at a time and manually duplex the printout. You can print two pages per page and duplex at the same time, thus getting four pages per printed page. Of course you might need to buy new glasses if you do that. Choose a low ink use font. For plain sans serif fonts choose Evergreen or Arial Narrow first, then Arial, then Verdana, then Tahoma. Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman, often use shorter letters then sans serif letters, so you get a few more lines on a page. However the serifs take more ink to print them, so I’m not sure that serif saves any ink. And of course every bigger font, bold and underscore takes more ink, and italic might also if it skews the letters enough to make them take more room than normal. And all the fancy script fonts take more ink. But you don’t want to make your print too dull and boring.

     Another option is to buy tree-free paper. (Or have us do your printing.) Recycled paper is less expensive and easier to come by than tree-free paper, but less exciting. If you do use recycled paper, try and find 100% post consumer waste (PCW) recycled. We print on 100% PCW and Tree Free Papers. We print on any tree free paper we can find. Most Tree Free papers are some percentage of 100%PCW.
100% PCW is available in Copy (20lb), Letterhead (24lb), 8.5x11 or 8.5x14 (Legal), and Cardstock (80lb)
Lokta is available in 20-24lb (weight not consistent between pages) and Cardstock (55lb)
For tree-free paper, my favorite is Lokta. Lokta is an evergreen that grows in Nepal and other nearby countries. This evergreen is pruned and it’s from the prunings that the paper is made. So, not exactly tree free, but no trees were cut down in the process. Lokta grows back from the root.
Hemp is available in 24lb (8.5x11 and 8.5x14) and in 70lb Cardstock. Currently Hemp Paper has to be imported to the U.S. But, that may change soon.
Coffee, Lemon, Mango, and Banana papers are available. These are made from the leaves of the plants, sometimes mixed with other agricultural waste and sometimes with 100%PCW. There is also Coffe paper made from Coffee Beans and 100%PCW. These are available in 20lb paper. Banana is available in 78lb Cardstock.
Bagasse (Sugar Cane) is available in 20lb. Bagasse mixed with Bamboo and 100%PCW is available in 24lb. Bagasse mixed with Hemp and Linen(Flax) is available 16lb. Bagasse/Bamboo/100%PCW and Bagasse/Hemp/Linen are available in 80lb cardstock.
100% Cotton paper is available in 20lb, 24lb, 32lb and Cardstock at 42lb and 66lb. When Cotton is mixed with PCW paper, it is not 100%PCW. We do not print on that. Cotton is one of the heavily pestided crops. The cotton is pesticided to kill it to make it easier to harvest. Organic Cotton Paper is available, so I prefer to print on that.
Straw paper is available
And, last but not least, Dung papers are available. Horse Dung and Elephant Dung paper is available in 22lb weight. Elephant Dung Cardstock is available in a weight somewhere between 40lb and 80lb. Cow, Donkey, Panda, and Moose Dung papers are available, but not for printing. When printing on Dung Papers, the ink tends to run all the way through, so only one-sided printing is available.

There are other tree-free papers available. We only print Letter (8.5x11) and Legal (8.5x14) paper. Only 100%PCW and Hemp are available in Legal size, unless you count 100% cotton 80lb cardstock. Some papers come in 11x17 or 12x12 (there is a Bamboo/PCW option for that size) - we can’t print on those. We could cut it to a different size first, but that’s not saving paper. Others are available in weights greater than 80lb - we can’t print on those either. Many are available in glued pads or journals. Handmade paper is an expensive option that we’re willing to explore, but most Handmade paper is sold by the sheet and is delivered rolled up, so it needs to be flattened before trying to print on it. Also, most handmade paper has too much of a design to make it useable for printing. Handmade paper does not have a smooth surface, so it may not print well in your printer. My printer is made to handle rougher surfaces.
Kenaf was another great option (no longer available). Kenaf is a grass which grows very fast and very tall (8 ft or more). It could be a good cash crop in the southern (or possibly a little higher) states. Other grasses could also be used but I’m not aware of any commercially available. Kadda is made of left-over cotton scraps. You may find these papers available (but probably not for printing). Flax (Cigar paper), Abaca (similar to Banana), Weeds, Thistle, Seaweed, Garlic Skin, Recycled Denim. Mulberry paper is popular in Japan. Most of these papers are hand-made. For 100% post consumer waste (PCW) recycled paper you can buy seed paper which you can plant when you’re done with it.

     The best finds for tree-free and recycled paper are:
     •  Green Earth Office Supply – 100% PCW, Lokta, Hemp, Blue Jean/Denim, Coffee, Banana
     •  Rawganique – Hemp
     •  Green Field Paper – Hemp, Seed
     •  Green Line Paper – 100% PCW
     •  Tree Cycle – 100% PCW, Cotton, Linen
     •  Conservatree – Paper Master List. This list lists all the tree free and 100% PCW paper makers and what their products consist of. This includes not only writing paper, but newsprint, paper towels, and facial tissue.
     •  Paper High – Kadda, Lokta, Elephant Dung.
     •  Eco Paper – Cigar, Coffee, Banana, Lemon, Mango.

     Other ideas for saving paper and ink can be found at:
     •  APFill Software to estimate ink/page.
     •  Ink Saver software that changes ink settings on your printer in the background while printing documents.
Note that many printers often combine colors to print black, meaning that even if you are only printing black on white, you may still be using your color ink cartridge.
     •  Digital Inspiration – Best Ways to reduce printing cost.
     •  Mercer Color’s Guidelines for a Green Pressroom
     •  EcoLibris – Green Printing Tips
     •  Environmental Defense Fund – Paper Calculator – Environmental Costs
     •  Neenah Paper – Paper Calculator – Environmental Costs

     Vegetable based inks is another option to reducing ink. Vegetable based inks do not use petroleum products. They do, however, use vegetable based ethanol, which is still ethanol and needs to be adequately vented to say the least. Vegetable based ink cartridges are not yet available, so you have to go with a printing company. For hand-written items, you can switch to pencils (other eco problems there). On the other hand, you could sharpen a stick (or use an old fashioned pen or quill) and dip it into a natural dye – blackberry juice for example. Of course, that could get messy.
     Our solution was to buy an expensive printer which uses specially made vegetable ink sticks. The ink dries very quickly so no need for venting the ethanol, although venting any electronics is always a good idea.

     Web page programmers can make their web pages use less paper and ink. This can be done by offering a print link to a separate page without graphics and minimal text. Alternately, you can do this in the background via CSS Media=print option. Theoretically, you can condense the font also, but that takes a lot of programming and usually doesn’t work. Perhaps easiest is to use <FONT> or CSS to use more condensed fonts as the first choices. Evergreen is the most condensed font. If you can offer a solution to convert existing webpages to ones that use less ink, it may be a big seller. If you’d like to pay me to convert your webpages to use less ink and less energy, let me know.

     Here’s my best idea for saving paper and ink. Design a font that besides being condensed, also has an extended character set, as most fonts do. The difference is that these extended characters are actually commonly used two and three letter words, written in the same manner as some fractions like 1/2. So, for instance “the” would be written with t in the upper left, h in the middle, and e in the lower right. If you design this font, I want a free copy – my tomes are taking too much paper to print :). Of course, then you need to create software to make it easy to take advantage of those condensed words.

     The easiest ways to reduce paper usage are to reduce the margins, reduce white space, and print double sided. For every page not printed, here’s what a typical person will save: (info derived from Change The Margins)
1 page = 0.0001 tree
1 page = 1.1079 Homes Powered for a Minute
1 page = 0.0285 lb GHG
1 page = 0.0114 lb Solid Waste
1 page = 0.0936 Gal Wastewater
1 page = 0.8333 Cents
100 pages = 0.0120 tree
100 pages = 1.8465 Homes Powered for an Hour
100 pages = 2.8451 lb GHG
100 pages = 1.1392 lb Solid Waste
100 pages = 9.3567 Gal Wastewater
100 pages = 0.8333 $
1 ream = 0.0600 tree
1 ream = 9.2327 Homes Powered for an Hour
1 ream = 14.2255 lb GHG
1 ream = 5.6959 lb Solid Waste
1 ream = 46.7836 Gal Wastewater
1 ream = 4.1667 $
1 case = 0.7200 tree
1 case = 4.6000 Homes Powered for a Day
1 case = 0.0853 tons GHG
1 case = 0.0342 tons Solid Waste
1 case = 561.4035 Gal Wastewater
1 case = 50 $