How many things have you printed in the past year? Yikes, not fun to think about that, eh? Printing surely isn’t the greenest activity around, and if you’re like me, you probably feel guilty any time you print extras of anything and then they go to waste. In this week’s “Going Green Tips” post, I’ve got two tips for you that I think could help to “make your printing greener.” And, with one of those, I’ve got several sub-tips.
Use more electronic forms and documents
There are many services out there that allow you to use electronic documents or forms. You already know that, but you may not be aware of some of the things for which these exist. Here are some online forms and docs I use that might slip by you:
- E-Invoicing: Stop using printed invoices. Use Google Drive to create and share your invoices, or some dedicated online invoicing service.
- Online 1099 Forms: If you have a small or medium-sized businesses, there’s a good chance you have to issue 1099 forms each year. But you don’t need to use actual paper forms anymore. I use track1099.com — not only is it printer-free, but it’s also faster, safer, and more convenient.
- Online Taxes: While we’re on the subject of taxes, why not just drop the paper taxes altogether. I’ve been using TurboTax for years, which I find very convenient, much easier, and very helpful when I have tax questions. Plus, no printing required.
- PDF, please: Stop printing out all your records. Simply print them as PDF and file away in folder on your computer. Worried about losing them in a computer crash? Then be extra careful and store them on an external hard driver, Google Drive, or email. Also, consider asking others for PDFs instead of printed records. You can even carry a USB stick around with you for such records. Not only is this greener, but it’s also easier to keep track of everything this way.
- SurveyMonkey: Want to survey your employees, your customers, your co-workers, your friends, or your family? No need to print anything. Use SurveyMonkey and you can collect surveys more efficiently and in a greener way. You can also check out the results in graph form as they roll in — always fun.
- Google Forms: Back to Google, there are tons of forms that you can create and send online via Google. Application forms, vendor forms, rental application forms, order forms, etc. (Warning: scrolling through Google form templates is a bit addictive.)
- E-books, articles, recipes: Well, I know you’re reading this article online… wait, do I? Many people print out articles to read later when they are offline. Consider saving these as PDFs or on a tablet for later reading when you are disconnected. Easier, cheaper, greener. Same goes for recipes, reports, and even books.
Recycle Your Cartridges!
Now, if you have a printer, one of the key things you can do to use it in a greener way is to recycle the printer cartridges. An article on that topic on Cartridges Direct states that, in Australia alone, people threw away 18 million printer cartridges in 2005. Yikes. Surely, that number has grown, and I’m also sure it’s much higher in the US. Printer cartridges are e-waste, and they should not be landing in landfills. “This is a staggering statistic, especially when you consider that the polymers used to make printer cartridges can take around 1000 years to decompose, all the while leaking dangerous toxins into the environment,” the article states.
Cartridges Direct goes on to say how it helps to remanufacture and recycle printer cartridges. It also lists a number of places in Australia where you can recycle printer cartridges. In the US, Staples will give your $2 cash back if you bring in your old ink or toner cartridges, HP will also give you cash back, and I’m sure there are other such places that will do this for you.
This article was supported by Cartridges Direct