The Cost of Ink?

Part of sustainability requires cutting back on material excess which can be difficult to do when we’re accustomed to certain habits and lifestyles. However, one change is literally as easy as clicking a button and can not only help you save money but also help the environment. The change is as simple converting from the font Times New Roman to Garamond, its narrower twin.

This idea can be credited to Suvir Mirchandani, an ambitious sixth grader who conducted his own experiments on font type and ink usage. He found that by using Garamond to print government documents, the government can save up to $400 million dollars worth of ink. His story is quite impressive and I encourage you to check it out here.

As a college student, I can’t help but think of the countless pages that run through our school. Additionally, a significant reason of why we can’t change the default font requirement for papers, assignments, and handouts does not come to mind. Most of the reluctance to change would seem to stem more out of comfort or respect for convention than anything else.

While most of the environmental cost of producing printer ink is electricity (which varies widely depending on site), according to an EuPIA report, even greater impact may come from all the ink cartridges that end up in landfills. Other negative consequences involve toxins, oil use, and aquatic and atmospheric pollution.

For all of the benefits of printing less ink, including both personal and global advantages, as well as it being a simple and impact solution, it seems almost too easy. I wish Suvir great luck with his initiative and encourage all of us to do what we can too!


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