How to buy the most environmentally friendly printer and make greener printing choices


If you happen to be greening your house or even just trying to preserve funds in your residence business, altering your printing practices is one particular way to make a difference to your environmental footprint. 

Using less printer ink more than time means you you should not want to buy, and in the long run dispose of, as several cartridges – which will be superior for the world as properly as your hip pocket. And you you should not always will need to get a new printer, but if you are thinking of updating or upgrading to a new printer, there are some things to glimpse out for. 

We’ll walk you through how to obtain a extra sustainable printer when the time will come to substitute your present one particular, and explain how and why you ought to recycle printer cartridges, additionally some other steps you can take at residence to make your printer additional environmentally pleasant. 

Recycling printer cartridges

As a great deal as 97% of all printer cartridges are recyclable. Some components can be utilised to make new cartridges, although the relaxation can be turned into other goods like comfortable drink cans, office environment materials and even streets. 

This appreciably lowers the want to dig up much more sources, including non-renewable kinds: cartridges are predominantly plastic, which requires oil, and digital parts and mechanisms use treasured metals that need to be dug up out of the floor and refined. 

Though practically all elements of a printer cartridge can be recycled, just about 70% of utilised ink cartridges however wind up in landfill every year

But though pretty much all parts of a printer cartridge can be recycled, regrettably a lot of of them are not: virtually 70% of employed ink cartridges however wind up in landfill each and every yr. In Australia, we threw absent practically 14 million printer cartridges in 2020 on your own. 

In landfill, cartridges slowly and gradually decompose above the class of 400 to 1000 a long time, throughout which time they fill confined landfill area though unsafe materials can seep into groundwater. 

How to recycle printer cartridges

Thankfully recycling a cartridge is fairly easy. Cartridges 4 Planet Ark is the key recycling plan in Australia. So much, it can be recycled far more than 56 million ink cartridges in partnership with a range of main printer brand names. 

You’ve in all probability found the deposit bins in submit offices or at Officeworks and at The Superior Fellas merchants, but other stores like Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and compact small business companions also accept cartridges for recycling. 

Go to and enter your postcode to discover your closest fall-off stage. 

How to make your existing printer more eco-friendly

If you currently own a printer and it is accomplishing a good-plenty of task that you are not arranging on changing it, there are a handful of quick ways you can choose to make your current printer extra environmentally helpful. 

Refilling ink cartridges

Quite a few generic cartridge types offer you a refill package and this can be a great deal extra environmentally helpful than buying a new cartridge each individual time the outdated a person operates dry. Most can only be refilled a particular variety of periods and this will be noted in the specifications.

Bear in thoughts that refilling at house can be fiddly, messy and time-consuming. Get your time and inject the ink pretty bit by bit employing gloves and a syringe to reduce bubbling and leaking. 

Some makers also provide authentic refillable cartridges that may be a lot less hassle to use.

“Just recall that some printer brands and versions block generic cartridges from becoming installed,” claims Selection printer qualified Peter Zaluzny. 

“Constantly check ahead of shopping for as you may require to leap as a result of a large amount of hoops to get the printer operating with a generic cartridge.”

Preference tip: If you happen to be using ink like it is likely out of small business, you may well want to contemplate a ongoing ink provide technique (CISS). See beneath for much more details on these devices.

Switch on ‘eco mode’

Most printers have an “eco” or “draft” manner that takes advantage of a lot less ink. However this does imply that visuals and textual content may search pale, they ought to continue to be legible and you can restrict whole top quality printing to critical documents.

Print both equally sides of the webpage

This will critically cut down your paper consumption. If you have a printer with auto-duplex it will routinely flip and feed the paper back again in. In any other case you are going to need to have to manually flip the pages around.

Relatively than just recycling paper that’s printed on only one facet, reuse it for scrap paper – ideal for kids’ drawings and checklist-creating. 

If you need to shred paperwork, you can use the shredded paper for your compost bin. Test our paper shredder assessments for the best kinds. 

Invest in recycled paper

A handful of paper brands sell printer paper that is created up of 50% or 100% recycled resources. This may perhaps not look as great as ‘brand new’ paper, but the big difference is negligible except if you have to have a prime-excellent print.

How to recycle your outdated printer

Recycling will not just stop at ink. You can also recycle your previous printer for free below the Nationwide Television and Personal computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS). You can discover your closest fall-off level by moving into your postcode at systems.

Officeworks is typically a convenient possibility, as any retailer will take e-waste protected under the NTCRS for absolutely free. Even so, more compact shops are likely to have significantly less storage house, so simply call ahead to make confident they can accept your electronics right before driving down.

“It’s also well worth searching at charities in your region,” says Peter. “They may possibly acknowledge aged printers in great operating buy and some others even have refurb applications wherever they take care of up previous tools for persons in need. This could give your old product a second lease on everyday living.”

Recycle your printer by mail

TechExpress is a lower-charge e-waste assortment provider for men and women that never live near an NTCRS fall-off stage. All you need to do is pack the merchandise, order a shipping and delivery label on the net for $14.95 then fall it off at a write-up workplace or write-up box if it truly is small adequate. 

You can read all about it at

How to invest in a more sustainable printer

When the time will come for a new printer, never just obtain the to start with matter you see on sale. There is much more to a printer’s value than just the price tag tag: you can also require to element in the annual expenditures of ink and toner which, in some scenarios, can incorporate up to be a lot more than the original buy selling price. 

Not only that, but the additional routinely you will need to invest in ink cartridges, the more waste is made by means of packaging and the cartridges themselves. And even if you recycle each cartridge you use, you can find still the environmental influence of their manufacture, transport and recycling to take into account. 

“Seriously contemplate if you actually will need a printer at all,” states Preference specialist printer tester Ben Bridges.

“You can maintain most things in soft copy, and when you do have to print, company centres like Officeworks are just as low-priced and ensure equal or far better top quality. 

“If you do will need a printer, contemplate a mono one. It is fewer cartridges to acquire and a lot less wastage.”

Your very best wager is to thoroughly research your future printer obtain to make positive you might be purchasing a printer that will not likely cost the earth – in equally senses of the term. 

Check out our check results 

Our gurus test not only a printer’s performance but also its ongoing running expenditures so you can compute particularly how much you will be forking out. 

We crack down the working expenditures in depth, demonstrating you how substantially each printer will charge you in toner per site (text, graphics and image), the yearly toner/ink expense, the total price around the initially yr of ownership and the full expense above a few a long time. 

Moreover, we also calculate how substantially ink each and every printer takes advantage of throughout cleansing cycles. A printer that has a score of 400% for ‘excess ink usage’ will use four situations as a great deal ink for cleansing as it does for printing. This usually means you can require to exchange the cartridge much more often – which is terrible for the world and lousy for your credit history card. 

The more productive a printer, the much less effects it will have on the setting

“Seem for printers with a lower annual ink/toner cost that can print a significant quantity of text or graphics webpages, based on your desires,” states Peter . 

The far more economical a printer, the fewer impact it will have on the natural environment – so checking the figures will make feeling all spherical. 

Steady ink supply method (CISS) printers

If you are a frequent printer and you want to minimise your environmental influence, it truly is value investigating a so-termed ‘big ink’ procedure. 

Alternatively than applying modest ink cartridges that require to be replaced commonly, a ongoing ink source technique (CISS) replaces the first ink cartridge with a modified cartridge that is connected to larger sized ink tanks. When an ink tank runs low, you can leading it up with an ink bottle provided by the company. 

This usually means you you should not need to change an whole cartridge just mainly because 1 color has run out. You can just buy one more bottle of the color you have to have. 

Since the ink tanks are so a lot larger than a regular cartridge, they can supply much extra prints for much less revenue: for occasion, the Epson EcoTank Image ET-8500 prints an estimated 6200 text internet pages, for all around $.004 for each website page. 

Ink tank printers cost more to purchase upfront, but they are considerably more affordable to operate – and you won’t be building far more squander by buying so many cartridges

When CHOICE’s sister organisation Purchaser NZ analyzed ink tank printers, they discovered that they are about 16 occasions less expensive to print than a related ink cartridge model. And to match the print capability of an ink tank printer, you would want to acquire close to 13 higher-capability ink cartridges – which provides up to a lot of empty ink cartridges likely to landfill!

Ink tank printers do expense additional to buy upfront, but they’re a great deal much less expensive to run – and you is not going to be making extra waste by buying so several cartridges. 

“Though it is probable to retrofit an current printer with an exterior CISS unit, it truly is difficult, fiddly and may possibly not even perform,” says Peter. 

“You’re much better off obtaining an current CISS model if you are after very low price, high-volume printing. All of these products in our exam have CISS constructed in from the manufacturing unit.”

Inventory images: Getty until otherwise said.


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Ellen C. McGowan

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