Astute observers might have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. It’s been a busy 5 weeks gearing up for my PhD thesis defence, doing the defence, and then finalizing the thesis. I’m afraid I haven’t had much time for blogging. However, I’m optimistic that that once October rolls in, I’ll be able to get back to GreenLivingOttawa. Meanwhile some thoughts on minimizing the footprints cast by academic pursuits.
There’s no way around it, writing a thesis uses a lot of paper and printer ink. However, there are a few things that I did to reduce the environmental impact of my paper and ink consumption. First, whenever I could I printed out drafts on the backsides of previously used pieces of paper. When I had to submit drafts to committee members for comments, I printed out copies on Rolland Enviro100 Copy paper from Cascades. Rolland Envirocopy is made from 100% post-consumer fibre bleached pure white without the use of chlorine in a process powered entirely from biogas. Despite its amazing environmental pedigree the paper looks and performs like any other printer paper and costs only $8.99 for a ream of 500 sheets. I buy my paper from Arbour Environmental Shoppe, but Rolland Envirocopy is available at most office supply stores.
As for printer ink, we have an HP deskjet with the standard HP ink cartridges that cost a shocking $50 each. Way back when, I struggled with those refill-it-yourself ink kits but I always seemed to get more ink on myself and the kitchen table than in the cartridges. Fortunately there are now affordable places to get your cartridges filled by professionals. I stopped by my local (Billings Bridge Plaza) Printwell counter this afternoon for yet another refill and had a chat with Rick about the environmental benefits of refills. He also gave me some pointers on how to maximize the lifespan of a cartridge, which I will pass on here.
You should be able to refill an HP inkjet cartridge 10 times if you make sure to bring it in fresh. The longer you wait to refill it after it’s been run dry, the shorter the lifespan of the cartridge. Ideally a cartridge should be refilled and reinstalled in a printer within 2 weeks of its running out of ink. Rick told me that he has one customer who managed to refill an HP cartridge 32 times before it gave out. This man brings in his cartridge within two days of the ink running low. So there you have it, 31 cartridges saved from the landfill by someone who does not procrastinate on ink refills. Rick also told me that Printwell franchises will soon be providing customers with biodegradable bags to carry their cartridges home in. By the way, for the price of two new HP cartridges you can buy a card for 10 refills from Printwell, so there is a tangible financial as well as environmental incentive to keep those cartridges out of the garbage.
Printwell is an Ottawa-based company with franchises in Ontario and Quebec. The location I go to is in upper floor food court area of Billings Bridge Plaza, 2277 Riverside Dr, Ottawa ON K1H 7X6, 613-738-7487
Envirocopy Paper from Arbour Environmental Shoppe, 800 Bank Street, Ottawa, K1S 3V8, 613-567-3168