The great sustainable printing controversy solved

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Bob BestPosted by:
Bob Best
Investor Services Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

If you printed out the sentence you are now reading, does it use more ink than it should? The answer is yes.

Several of our employees, in the true spirit of sustainable practices, suggested that we change our default printing font because they read that certain fonts save ink.  It sounds reasonable, so we started doing some research.  There is a lot of information on this subject, and a lot of it is contradictory.

So, we went to Xerox, who provides duplicating services for our corporate offices.  In 2009, they did a complete study on this issue.

Xerox tested 12-point Arial, Times Roman and EcoFont.  The results …Times Roman uses the least amount of ink.  This might seem surprising, but Xerox points out that different font print out in different lengths.  A sentence in Times Roman is 15% longer in Arial and 32% longer in EcoFont.

But, as Xerox also points out, font selection is just one factor in sustainable printing.  There are many things we can do to save ink and paper …

  • Print in “draft mode” whenever possible
  • Use two-sided printing
  • Do not use automatic banner pages
  • Use print preview to print only what you need to print
  • Use smaller font sizes wherever possible
  • Rely on electronic files and don’t print at all!

In the spirit of the last point, please don’t print this out at all. That saves the most ink and the most paper, and is the most sustainable solution of all.

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