Call me a “tree-hugger,” but like many people, I believe in saving trees. While it is necessary to make trees into cardboard, furniture, paper, and the like, we all should recycle whatever we can whenever we can. (My condo complex recycles [yay!] but they did not start doing so until 2014 [boo!].)
We also need to think of trees when we decide to use paper, and I’m thinking particularly of paper in our printers. Before we print, we need to decide whether we really need a printed copy of what we’re thinking of printing.
I have to admit that in the past, I have been guilty of printing items that really didn’t need to be printed. For example, less than six months after launching my editing business, I copyedited—for the first time ever—a document for a client whom I did not know personally. While I enjoyed the work very much, I was terrified that something bad would happen and I would lose all of my work somehow. I’m very embarrassed to admit this, but every evening during the time I was working on this document, I would print what I edited, with the tracked changes in red. My rationale was that if I lost my work, I could go back and put in all of my changes. Very paranoid of me. I can at least say that this was the only time I ever did this, but it certainly did use quite a bit of paper.
Also, in the very distant past, I would often print out my email. I suppose it was the Luddite in me that possessed me to do this. Now I am ashamed of doing so and I very, very rarely do it.
Another thing I believe in conserving is ink cartridges. Yes, they can be recycled and I recycle them, but a lot of people just throw them out. Ink cartridges clog up landfills and that is not a good thing. Following the advice above saves ink and makes a cartridge last longer. And please take your empty ink cartridges with you the next time you need to pick up something at your neighborhood office supply store and drop them off there—and by that, I do not mean making a special trip to the store just to drop off your cartridges, as this wastes gasoline (which, as we know, is outrageously expensive these days).
If you are an editor, what are some of the steps you take in order to save paper and ink?