Modifying your colour printing habits is one of the most efficient ways to cut costs and become more environmentally friendly at work or at home.

Often, you can unknowingly engage in wasteful practices, such as printing in color when you don’t need to or replacing toner too soon. This is not only bad for the environment; it could also cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The first step in lowering your costs, color printing issues, and environmental footprint is to become more aware of your habits and cut corners where you can.


When a low toner warning appears on a laser printer, you may be tempted to replace the cartridge immediately. However, many of these warnings appear when the cartridge still has 25% of its toner remaining. This could equate to an additional 400-500 pages printed with the same cartridge. Keep an extra toner cartridge on hand, but only use your current toner cartridge until it runs out. To get the most out of your cartridge, replace your toner when your pages become faded rather than immediately after you receive a warning.


In addition to waiting for your laser printer cartridge to be replaced, you can avoid using stop/start cycles to further reduce your usage. Even if you are not printing, toner will accumulate on the drum during the stop/start cycle. This is a wasteful practice that many people are unaware their printers are engaging in. To avoid this, go to your computer’s “Printer Properties” tab and change the settings so that your pages only print after the last page is spooled. This reduces the number of times your printer stops and restarts, saving you a lot of toner.


Check the preview before printing, especially if you’re printing a web page. There is often a lot of extraneous material on websites. Advertisements in the margins or random user comments at the end of an article consume a significant amount of space. You can see exactly what will be printed, how many pages there will be, and if there are any extra pages that you can completely cut out of your printing by looking at the preview. This will significantly reduce your toner and paper consumption.

When printing in color, be especially cautious of advertisements, which will waste even more toner than extra text. To avoid all the random clutter on the web page, it is sometimes more convenient to simply copy the text from the web page, paste it in a document, and print from there.


When possible, print in black and white or gray-scale to save on ink and toner. This can be changed in the “Printer Settings” section. Unless you’re printing for a client or visuals are critical to your document, you can probably go without color. Also, when printing, use graphics and images sparingly because they require far more toner than text.

Although color printing can be costly, there are many ways to cut costs by changing your habits. Finding different ways to save paper and toner are some of the simplest ways to reduce the cost and waste of printing.

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