Guide to print more sustainable 


Why is sustainability important?


Simply stated, our global future depends on it. 


There is increasing recognition that climate has a central role in global economic and social sectors. The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources is more important than ever. Think globally, act locally” It starts with you! We have gathered some practices, that can help keep the world a more sustainable place.



From FSC certified papers – recognized by the WWF as the hallmark of responsible forest management – to recycled materials, there are many options to choose from. 


  • Look for paper with the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled content available. A good baseline is at least 30%.  
  • Make sure the product packaging is clearly marked to indicate that it contains recycled content.  
  • When possible, avoid paper that contains chlorine, which can make the paper more difficult to recycle at the end of its life and acts as a pollutant on land and in water.  


What to Look For:

Look at the label on paper packaging, which will show a variety of symbols and the information you need to know about the paper. You will want to find chlorine-free and recycled paper as a least, which will have these two symbols:


It is also good to find a type of paper that has been approved by a green certificates program, indicating that the paper has been created by using renewable energy sources. 


Print less

New digital print technology makes it cost-effective to print less and then reprint when you need more. Before digital print, the short-run print would be expensive due to the setup cost of litho technology. Now we can print what you want when you want it, helping both your budget and the environment. 


“Think Before You Ink”

Save documents, websites, photos, and presentations electronically and resist the urge to print unless absolutely necessary. Share information electronically, it will save innumerable copies at meetings and presentations. Save Resources Set your printer/copier/fax machine default mode to duplex and print double-sided documents every time. If you are using a private inkjet printer, set your printer to “Fast Draft” under advanced printer settings to reduce the amount of ink used for each page. 


Take responsibility for the carbon emissions created by your printing


Many printers offer carbon offsetting. Your printer can calculate the carbon footprint of your publication including paper manufacturing, delivery of the paper, production at the factory, and final distribution, and then invests that in carbon offset projects.


An example of this kind of offsetting would be making investments in the Andipatti Wind Power project in India. It delivers zero-emissions renewable electricity to the Southern regional grid and consists of 30 turbines which reduce CO₂ emissions by displacing electricity that would have otherwise been drawn primarily from fossil fuel power stations.


Use an environmental imprint

Many companies print sustainably and make responsible choices but don’t communicate it. Being clear on your sustainable choice not only improves your image, showing you as a caring, responsible organization, but also encourages others in the sector to follow suit and to adopt similar responsible purchasing practices, increasing the rate of environmental improvement.


Choose a sustainable printer

When acquiring new machines, lease rather than purchase. When you are finished using the machine or are considering an upgrade, the company will have the responsibility of refurbishing or recycling the machine and you will not have to dispose of it.  

Look for machines with duplex (double-sided) printing capability; use this feature to reduce the amount of paper consumed. You will cut your paper costs by up to 50%. 


Work with as few printers as possible. The more people sharing a printer, the more energy-efficient and cost-effective it will be. Try to purchase machines rated by Energy Star, which will generally be more energy-efficient than other similar machines on the market.

If you are using an external source for printing, choose an environmentally friendly printer; one which minimizes the impact of their production facilities, processes and investments and can offer advice on the most sustainable way to print your communications.


Tips to reduce waste


  • Where possible, print in black and white as color printing uses more ink.
  • Printing in draft mode reduces ink usage by printing in a slightly lighter shade which is still legible.
  • Ensure there is a paper recycling bin beside every printer, copier, and fax machine.
  • Purchase only chlorine-free paper with a high percentage of recycled content.
  • Email instead of printing memos to reduce paper (and time!)
  • Get into the habit of proofing documents on-screen before printing.
  • Use paper that has been printed on one side as scratch paper.


Sign up for our monthly update