August Green Tip

Printing in a Greener Shade. The contents of printer cartridges are mostly petroleum-based, require a lot of energy to produce, and contain harmful chemicals. Only 30 percent are recycled or refurbished; the rest—about 375 million each year—are tossed into landfills. What’s worse, research shows that ink car­tridges may still contain up to 60 percent of their ink when a printer declares them empty, wasting money and contributing to groundwater and soil pollution. You can minimize your impact with these printing strategies:

  • Use low-ink fonts. Thicker, “heavier” fonts (e.g., Franklin Gothic, Helvetica) use more ink than thinner, “lighter” ones (e.g., Garamond, Courier).
  • Try ink-saving tools. You can download fonts that leave tiny holes in printed characters instead of filling them in with ink, and programs that let you edit unwanted text and pictures before print­ing.
  • Use ink-saving printer settings. Most printers have a “draft” or “economy” mode that uses less ink by making the print lighter.
  • Choose soy-based inks when possible. These spread 15 percent farther, meaning less ink is needed. They also release fewer VOCs, require less energy to manufacture, and are easier to strip from paper during recycling.


 Recycle cartridges. Manufacturing a new ink cartridge requires two to five ounces of oil, and a toner cartridge requires more than a gallon, but both can be recycled about six times. We have our own recycling program here at UUS:E which also earns money for our operating fund.  Put your used cartridges in a plastic bag and place in the collection box in the lobby.