I would not be surprised if in the last decade of writing, I have personally been responsible for the clear-cutting on an acre of forest. Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but I certainly had used up my share of reams of paper and contributed to the success of Office Max’s business. The obvious answer to conserving paper is to reuse the back sides of draft documents. But there are other ways to preserve trees and help Mother Nature:
If you are printing as part of the editing process (see my March 19th blog: Screen, Paper, Voice), think before you print. Have you read the document on screen and taken care of obvious typos? Get your draft in the best shape possible, before you print. The fewer the errors on the printed page, the more likely you can print a final version on the next printing.
Did you know that you can print two (or more) pages on an 8 ½ by 11 sheet? Look on the lower right hand corner of the Print screen. It will say pages per sheet and have a drop down menu. This is a great way to do a preliminary review of your work and minimize paper.
Printer ink is a mixture of various solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, and other materials. Print cartridges are made of plastics. When it comes to ink, unless you are sending your manuscript out, less is better. Go into Printer Properties and see if you have a “fast/economical” option. I’ve found this setting to minimize ink usage.
Consider printing in black whenever possible. Copper (blue, green, violet and some reds), barium (orange and red) and nickel (yellow) are often found in colored inks. These metals are relatively nontoxic to humans but can be harmful to aquatic species. So if you don’t need to see colors, then choose black (go to Printer Properties, Print in Grayscale and on the pull down menu, choose black only).
These may seem like small changes, but if a lot of people take these simple steps, the earth will be better off.