Solving The Printables Dilemma

Solving the Printables Dilemma

I love printables as much as the next gal. How can we make our printing as eco-friendly as our crafting?

Whether we’re talking labels for green cleaning supplies or templates for baby toys, printables can make our craft projects look more professional. The trouble with printables – and really with printing in general – is that it can be a waste of resources, right?

The main culprits when it comes to reducing the impact of your printables are ink cartridges and paper. Let’s take a look at ways to reduce the impacts of both!

Ink Cartidges – Better Ink, Better Disposal

As you know if you’ve replaced your ink cartridges, every printer uses a different cartridge shape, which can be frustrating. There are companies offering cartridges with low-impact inks, and if you can find one that’s compatible with your printer, this is definitely the best choice.

I’ve also seen kits that allow you to refill old cartridges with new ink, but word of mouth on those doesn’t seem very positive. If you’ve used a refill kit that worked well for you, please tell us about your experience in the comments!

Whether you’re able to use low-impact ink or not, you can also be mindful about disposing of your cartridges. Cartridges Direct recommends sending your empty printer cartridges to the appropriate recycling centers once you have finished with them. This allows them to be manufactured into new cartridges or other products. That means fewer printer cartridges ending up in landfills and less chance of the old ink from the cartridges contaminating groundwater and soil.

Better Paper Options

You’ve really got three choices when it comes to better paper for your printables:

1. reclaimed paper – You can print things like templates and patterns onto the backs of old bill and other standard-size paper from your recycle bin. This is absolutely the lowest-impact choice.

2. recycled paper – Most office supply stores now sell 100% recycled printer paper by the ream. Recycled paper sometimes costs more than virgin paper, so buying a whole ream is a good way to save some money. I bought a ream of FSC-certified paper (see option #3) in 2006, and I’m still working my way through it. It’s a lot of paper and more of an investment up front, but if you’re just doing occasional printables and other printing, it will last for ages.

3. FSC-certified paper – The Forest Stewardship Council certifies paper operations that grow and harvest their trees sustainably. You can read a little bit more about FSC certification at our sister site, Green Living Ideas.

I’d love to hear from my fellow green crafters about this! What are your thoughts on printables? Do you shy away? How do you make your printing as low-impact as your other crafting?

This article was supported by Cartridges Direct.

ink cartridges photo via Shutterstock

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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