One of the most efficient ways to cut costs and become more environmentally-friendly at work or at home is to modify your color printing habits.

Oftentimes, you can unknowingly engage in wasteful practices – from needlessly printing in color to replacing toner prematurely. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it could be costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Being more aware of your habits and cutting corners where you can are the first steps in reducing your costs, color printing issues and environmental footprint


When a low toner warning comes up on a laser printer, you may be inclined to change the cartridge right away. However, many of these warnings come up when the cartridge still has 25 percent of its toner left. This could equate to an extra 400-500 pages you could print using that same cartridge. Keep an extra cartridge or two on hand, but use your current toner cartridge until it runs out. You should replace your toner when your pages become faded instead of right after you get a warning to ensure you are getting the most use out of your cartridge possible.


In addition to waiting to change your laser printer cartridge, you can also avoid using stop/start cycles to further reduce your usage. During the stop/start cycle, toner will accumulate on the drum even if you are not printing anything. This is a wasteful practice that many people do not even realize their printers are doing. To avoid this, go into your “Printer Properties” tab on your computer and adjust the settings so that your pages will only start printing after the last page is spooled. This will reduce the number of times your printer will stop and start up again, saving you a lot of toner.


Especially if you’re printing a webpage, check the preview before printing. Oftentimes with webpages, there is a lot of extraneous material. Advertisements in the margins or random user comments at the end of an article take up a lot of space. By looking at the preview, you can see exactly what will be printed, how many pages it will be and if there are any extra pages that you can completely cut out from your printing. This will reduce your toner and paper usage substantially.

Be especially wary of ads when printing in color, as these will waste even more toner than extra text. Sometimes it is more useful to simply copy the text from a webpage, paste it in a document and print from there to avoid all the random clutter on the webpage.


To save on ink and toner, print in black and white or grayscale when possible. This can be adjusted under “Printer Settings.” Unless you are printing material for a client or visuals are essential to your document, you can probably skimp on color. Also, be frugal with your use of graphics and images when printing since images require a lot more toner than text.

Although color printing can be expensive, there are many ways you can adjust your habits to reduce costs. Finding different ways to save paper and toner are some of the easiest solutions to less costly and wasteful printing.