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Get tips for implementing Granville magazine's own cost-effective office paper reduction program

It’s too bad that we tend to be far more passionate about saving money when the economy is running amuck rather than being frugal all the time. If we were, perhaps we wouldn’t get into this recession mess every few years.

Faced with having to cut costs, there are many options available to businesses and consumers alike, but printing and toner usage aren’t things we tend to think much about. Recently, I implemented cost-saving measures at Canada Wide Media (Granville’s parent company) to reduce paper usage—a big cost for any publishing company—and have had overwhelming positive response.

Weekly email updates on our progress seem to have helped. And making sure there was buy-in at the highest levels of the company ensured everyone was on board.

The rewards to the environment from reducing paper and toner use are obvious. Our office of 130 people went through 188 reams (500 sheets) of paper in 2008. That’s the equivalent of about 12 trees. The goal with our new Printing, Paper and Toner Reduction Program is to reduce printing costs by 30 percent, which means four less trees will be cut down and four tons of CO2 emissions will be captured by them.

And by printing less paper, we’re also using less toner, meaning less non-biodegradable plastic cartridges and toxic loose toner powder ending up in landfills, contaminating groundwater.

If every business in B.C. reduced their paper and toner consumption by 30 percent as we are attempting to do, it would take 50,400 tons of carbon out of the atmosphere. That’s about equal to the weight of more than 55,000 cars or 140 fully loaded jumbo jets.

Printing, Paper and Toner Reduction Program

Here are some cost-saving measures we’ve taken that will have a dramatic impact on both our bottom line and the environment.

Do you really need to print that document?


• If you only reference it at your workstation, then view it on screen instead of printing it.
• Rethink the way you use paper. Old habits may be causing you to save a printed and an electronic copy.
• If you can’t easily read a document on screen and think you need to print it instead, there is another option: enlarge the text by using the resize tools available within the program you’re working in. We all read email on screen so reading from websites or documents should be as easy as changing our habits.
• If you have trouble reading the type on a web page you can enlarge the size of it by selecting “Control and +” on a PC keyboard and “Command and +” on a Mac in any web browser.
• Instead of printing a web page, you can cut and paste the contents into a Word document and save it to your computer.
• Save websites as bookmarks instead of printing them.
• Send draft documents electronically for others to make changes to instead of printing them and having them marked up for changes.


Always use Print Preview before printing


• Before printing any document, use the Print Preview function in whichever program you’re using to ensure the document fits on the paper and you print only the pages you need. This is a common problem when printing web pages, Excel, Word and PDF files.


Spell check your documents before printing


• Check for spelling errors before you print.
• Minor spelling errors for internal documents can be hand corrected. No one will fault you for being environmentally conscious.


Print using eco-friendly fonts


• Use light face fonts to reduce the amount of toner
• Install the font Spranq (www.ecofont.eu/downloads_en.html), it contains small holes in it that reduces your toner use by 20 percent. It looks cool and is barely noticeable. Available in Mac and PC flavours.


Print double-sided


• Print double-sided whenever possible. If you’re unsure how to set your printer to this setting, check your print menu for manual double-sided print capabilities.


Print large quantities to a networked copier


• Use a networked copier to print out large quantities of documents, even if they need to be single-sided. The toner is significantly less expensive due to the technology it uses. Laser printer cartridges have an imaging drum that is disposed of every time. Copiers only refill the toner, and the imaging drum usually lasts the life of the unit, which lowers your costs.


Print or copy only the pages you need


• You just got back that 10-page report you wrote and there are changes to make on pages 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10. After making the changes, consider printing only the pages you need.
• Make copies on a printer or copier “as needed” rather than in large batches at one time. Frequently, extra copies of important internal documents become outdated quickly and only end up being discarded.


Print multiple pages on one sheet


• Print documents 2-UP or 4-UP per page for archival purposes and where possible. You can find this in the print functions of most applications.


Conduct paperless meetings


• Prepare documents using Powerpoint or Word and display them using a laptop, projector or TV if you can connect to one.




• Reports that you generate for someone or receive from others should be sent electronically via email or placed on a file server for viewing. Reports are often discarded after briefly viewing them. They can be easily viewed on screen when necessary and enlarged if they’re too hard to read.


Use toner-saving modes


• All networked printers have the ability to enable toner or econo-saving modes.
• If you have a printer directly connected to your computer, you can also choose toner saving modes located in the Advanced or Printer Properties section in Page Setup of whichever program you are using.
• Select a lighter toner setting on a copier. The difference is visually minimal.


Fax machines


• If you receive junk faxes, request that the senders take you off of their list.

It’s vital that you keep track of your progress to see if the plan is working. Find out how much you’ve spent in paper and toner in the past and compare your costs over time using a simple spreadsheet.

To keep the program in everyone’s mind, I send staff a weekly update on the progress that individuals and work groups are making, as well as offering additional paper and toner savings tips. Post visual reminders and tips on each of your printers to reinforce print previewing and double-sided printing, for example.

Lastly, do not expect that everyone will change their habits overnight. Letting staff know you are monitoring the situation and gently reinforcing the concepts in various meetings and general discussions will change habits gradually over time.