Since our society is increasingly finding ways to be sustainable, the moment we waste, we worry. Wasteful worry happens with the simplest of daily activities. Teachers, students, and business associates alike spend a good portion of time at the printer. The moment the printer begins, we wait for someone to comment. As soon as we print out more sheets of paper than we are comfortable with, we feel the need to placate the situation. A typical phrase is, “I didn’t mean to kill off an entire forest!”
We got to thinking about this phrase and the literal and comical images it can bring about. When we thought about it, we envisioned a printer rapidly pushing out sheet after sheet of paper until it forms the beginning to that forest. How many sheets would that actually be? For the “fun of it” We decided to run some simple numbers.
How Many Sheets?
To actually kill off a single tree would have to print out roughly 8,335 sheets of paper, which is nearly 17 reams. Each ream holds about 500 sheets. In order for a grouping of trees to be considered a forest there needs to be some 1000 trees therein. To kill off a forest you’d have to print out over 8 million sheets of paper!
What About Ink?
If you were printing with all black ink (which can only print about 130 sheets per cartridge) you’d be out some 68,000 cartridges to kill that forest. That means you would go through some 17,000lbs of cartridges. Wow.
How to Save A Forest
The bottom line is, it is fairly impossible for a single person to print enough in a day, let alone an entire lifetime, to actually kill off an entire forest. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take cautious measures to minimize waste. For starters you should only print what you need. When printing out your documents just tweaking the options under page range and copies can drastically change the amount of paper and ink used.
To do this: Start off as you would to normally print a document. On the left hand side of the print dialog box look for “page range”. This is where you can tweak the options to fit your needs. Even if your document is 15 pages long you can choose to only print page 4 or pages 7-10 instead of printing the entire document.
If you do print in error be sure to keep that paper to use for printing drafts of the next important project, presentation, or paper. Above all else, next time you head to the printer, remember, it’s ok. These are a few suggestions, but feel free to share more paper and ink saving tips below.