Can everyday printing be more sustainable?


One of my biggest drivers for setting up Paper Aeroplane Creative was to change the way I work so I could improve my personal impact on the environment and really big things have happened.

I have cut my mileage for work by 85%, I cook more from scratch with the time I gain by not commuting, not to mention how many small businesses with a similar ethos I support.

But we can all do better and I have noticed, partly by being more in tune with my accounts how much I spend on printer ink. So I have been wondering what can I do to reduce the amount of ink I use, which in turn would be beneficial to the environment and I’d like to share my findings.

Of course saving money is just one aspect, but by saving ink it works its way through the chain pretty quickly, from the act of buying less means we have fewer lorries on the road delivering ink, less packaging both cardboard and if you ink brand is like mine it includes a black plastic tray, the one type of plastic my local authority says it can’t recycle.

But then there is the next life and once your printed paper hits the recycling system less ink means less energy stripping ink from the used paper and less bleach needed to make it white again.

So how can we reduce our ink?

I have found a suggestion that if you keep your printer on it saves your printer from cleaning the ink heads on start-up, therefore, saving ink, but of course what means using electricity to power a small light so perhaps that won’t balance out?

A simple google search taught me that by simply switching from Arial to Times makes a difference 27% less ink, but if you are like me you prefer a san serif, then Century Gothic saves 30%, even better.

Garamond is often hailed as an eco option but this is partly because it is smaller than other serif fonts but of course, you need to make your font size larger to read it so perhaps it’s counterproductive, it does at least give me the idea of simply reducing font size in general to make some savings.

Other options

I’ve found two font solutions which promise to be more environmentally friendly. One, a font from Ryman, Ryman Eco and another ‘The eco font’.

The Eco font is a piece of software which adds clear dot’s within your fonts, simply reducing ink without much noticeable change at a license fee of £7 per year for one user, it could in theory (if you print a lot) pay for its self in saved ink without much compromise to your workflow.

Ryman Eco a font by Ryman is really rather beautiful and certainly a simple choice for things like emails and for me client briefs.

It’s easy to feel all a loss as we begin to face up to this climate crisis, and especially as a small business but lots of small businesses acting will create a massive impact.

If you would like to book a discovery session to see how I can help your brand follow the link below. – Lucie

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