Friday, April 9, 2010

Use less printer ink, by changing...

...the font.
Century Gothic will use less ink, but possibly more paper... discuss. Here's the article.

Blogger doesn't have Century Gothic as an option, but it is a perfectly fine looking sans-serif font. If you don't know, something like Arial(mnop) is a sans-serif font, where as Georgia(mnop) is a serif font. Those little horizontal lines at the top and bottom of letters make a difference in how we see the letters, the spacing, and even how easy it is to read on paper versus the screen. Since starting work at the university, I've learned that I prefer serif fonts, but that sans-serif are easier to read on the computer screen (so says our tech-and-tech-teaching department).

One point raised by the article is that because the space allotted to each letter in Century Gothic is more than in other fonts, the same amount of text in CG will take more paper than it would in Arial. If your one page document becomes a two pager in CG - does the extra piece of paper negate your ink savings?

This is a very fair question, but I think that changing things like margins, and font size, and using double-sided printing can alleviate this problem, in most situations. Also, this answer depends on the type of paper you use. Is it recycled? How much of it is recycled? Is it sustainably produced?

I know that personally, I can only focus on changing one or two things at a time. So I sometimes fall into the "can't see the forest for the trees" problem. I am so focused on being green and/or frugal about one item, that I forget to consider other items or habits, or what the carbon backstory of my green/frugal item is.

That is what this sort of feels like. Use less ink or less paper? Can't we do both?

This whole greening up our lives is a slow-process for us. Replacing one product or habit at a time, instead of pitching everything we have now, and spending the money to buy all 'new.' The slow approach makes sense, but it can make it difficult to see progress sometimes.

And it can make the slip ups even more pronounced. For instance, we needed to buy toothpaste. We were at the local co-op, and were prepared to plunk down some money for said toothpaste. We were a bit anxious to go ahead and get out of the store, so we picked up the cheapest one. I didn't look at the label close enough. There was no fluoride (not a huge deal to meal, I can take it or leave it, but husband prefers fluoride). Then I actually read the ingredients, and there was SLS!! (sodium laurel/laureth sulfate) The thing that I was actually trying to avoid! Sure, it was way down on the list of ingredients, instead of being second or third. Still, I was crushed.

(Why am I avoiding SLS, which is as pervasive as high fructose corn syrup? Because it is in everything, and isn't as safe as I'd like. It really does deserve a post of its own; one that I haven't found the time to write, yet. Here are some more random links, though: Crunch Chickens' SLS-free toothpaste search; from Wise Geeknatural health info site has some info on it; and from Tom's of Maine (at the bottom of the page. Here's the other side of things from

Ok, back to the paper and ink. What are your thoughts on the less-ink-font issue? Are you in favor of switching over your default font and sizing to save both ink and paper?


Cam said...

I try not to print out much. Before I hit print, I ask myself if I could just save whatever it is as a PDF on my I really need to have a paper copy?

However, I end up doing a lot of printing when I take stories to writer's group, so I make sure to at least double-side it. I don't worry about font/ink. I don't think that I print enough to make the savings add up. And I also use toner, which, while more expensive up front, prints more pages than ink.

Elizabeth said...

Great site! I love your green/economic tips!