Making printing less excessive, and more guilt-free?

We all have a friend who is one. An electricity-hog. A 45-minute-showerer. The drive-to-the-gym-so-I-can-run-in-place kind of person. The most common of these types of habits among young adults today seems to be the excessive bad computing habits, like leaving a computer on when it isn’t being used (especially overnight) and printing things that don’t need to be printed.

Computing and printing habits are some of the toughest to break in our culture of excessive everything (perhaps not as tough as that of food, but still tough).

greenprintlogoGreenPrint is a computer software company trying to battle these habits by giving the user more control over what gets sent to the printer. (NYT article and gadgetwise blog) There is also a corporate edition that could really make a difference in the workplace.

However, as useful as GreenPrint may be, it is not really getting at the heart of the issue. There might be less paper being used for each specific print job, but the number of print jobs might even increase because people feel they can print more often since they have been saving up “printing credits.”

Instead of printing something to look at for a few days, hours, minutes, whatever, there has to be a change in judging what is necessary to print or just a better way of having a copy in your hands (perhaps e-ink? E-ink is the technology that is used in Amazon’s Kindles and Sony’s Reader as well as other reading devices).

What really needs to happen is the change in mentality of users. Much like the ideas that Michael Pollan promotes regarding food portion sizes, the solution might not be to force the shaving of fractions of what is being used, but to fundamentally change what we think is an acceptable level of use.

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