Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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May 23 2010

Printer Ink: A Precious Liquid? Using Technology to Save Money

Published by at 9:19 pm under Technology

It is well known that printer ink can be quite expensive. When compared to other liquids, the high cost of printer ink is surprising. Printer ink costs $60.88 per ounce, while Chanel No. 5 is $44.11, Dom Perignon is $4.53 and milk is only 3 cents per ounce. At the ETC meeting on April 21, 2010, I invited Greenprint Inc. to present their solution of decreasing printer waste and demonstrate how it saves businesses money to reduce the use of printer ink and paper.

GreenPrint is a virtual print driver that provides an intuitive preview window where users can review print jobs and eliminate unnecessary content. This software recognizes the fact that most employees fail to use “Print Preview” as a means to reduce waste. For example, a user can choose not to print pages with just one line of text or unnecessary content, legal jargon and chains of email addresses. To put this in perspective, the average employee prints about 7,200 pages per year with 35% percent of those pages constituting waste. This adds up to about $151.00 per employee annually. In this age of conserving resources and creating efficiency, Greenprints provides a viable solution.

While the Legislative Department does not use Greenprints software, we are acutely aware of how much paper and ink we use and take measures to conserve whenever possible. For example, when the toner appears to be out, we take the cartridge out and shake it—this loosens up the toner and many more pages can usually be printed. We also scan many documents instead of printing. Perhaps in the future we will employ the services of Greenprints software.

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