With the digital age, are we printing less at home? Perhaps not!

Today we email invoices, share photos on laptops and smartphones, and send emails instead of traditional snail-mail. You would expect we’re printing less at home and in the office!

However, with the new faster communications, technology has also improved around home/office printers which makes it easier to print in-house rather than out-source print jobs to printer companies.

People printing

Where businesses were once out-sourcing the printing of flyers, brochures and cards, they’re now printing conveniently from the comfort of their office, and getting some great results.

The use of good quality compatible cartridges also means that in-house printing is not only convenient, it’s very economical.

Let’s not forget when you’re cooking dinner or watching the news, the kids go to town printing off multiple versions of their full-colour assignments, which you find discarded in the bin the next day, while the low-ink light flashes brightly!

There are also those of us who, albeit love the digital age, equally love to see our document in hard-copy.

The printed page has an appeal that a fleeting image on-screen can never match, especially for proof-reading copy, or reconciling invoices or checking over facts and figures.


I have found over the past eight years in the printer consumable business, there is a strong trend to use of (quality) compatibles over OEM cartridges. (I stress ‘quality’ as not all compatibles are the same!)

My view is that, as it becomes cheaper and easier to print at home and in the office we might actually be printing more!

How to extend the lift of your toner cartridge

Extend the life of your toner

If your Brother printer suddenly runs out of toner and instantly stops printing, even though it printed perfectly well earlier in the day, you might be able to coax more out the cartridge by gently rocking it back and forth. But ultimately, the toner-out light will stay on and eventually the printer will run out of toner.

When this first happens the toner cartridge is probably not empty.  The web reports most people consistently get another 800 to 1,000 pages by covering a sensor hole and tricking the printer to thinking that it is still full of toner dust.

I think the real reason is more benign. Measuring toner levels is more of an art than a science and without spending a ton of money on an interior electronics, Brother used a relatively simple but flawed mechanism to measure toner. Why did they put in extra toner? They wanted to ensure they reached their advertised page count with no chance of falling short. In other words, they over-filled the cartridge to make sure they were honest. But it still it seems wasteful not to use all of the available toner.

While you have your cartridge out of your printer why not also take the time to give it a gentle clean using a pipe cleaner. Avoid contact with the digital imaging drum if present but feel free to clean off any obvious leaks.

So remember that a toner cartridge has additional of life remaining even when the toner light turns on.

Cartridge currency a cause of office thefts

Theft of Toner in Office

The potential resale value of cartridges on the black market are believed to be the cause of many office thefts overseas and in Australia.

With the high cost of cartridges, it is easy to understand why many companies are seeing thefts within the office of ink cartridges, laser toner cartridges, and other printer ink cartridge supplies. In a recent story published by The New York Times, state prosecutors accused a former employee of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, a well known law firm, of stealing toner cartridges valued at an estimated $376,000. He is also accused of reselling those toner cartridges on what is called the black market. The thefts took place over a two-year period. It was reported that the toner cartridges have a market value of between $80 and about $260., and were sold for $10 to $15 per toner cartridge.

According to a report in Tomato Ink news “It is common knowledge that many office supplies are easy to carry off. The smaller the item, the easier it is to pocket it. It is also common knowledge that printer toner cartridges can be expensive which makes them a prime target for those employees that may be tempted to steal. The problem, of course, is the company has to spend much more money as it goes about replacing these ink cartridges. In some cases, as this one, those costs can be significant.”

What may surprise some people is that this particular theft is not unique or uncommon. Theft of toner cartridges,  laser toner cartridges, ink cartridges, and other printing supplies is on the rise. One particular case that took place in 2011 involved an employee who was subsequently convicted of taking over $1.5 million of printing toner cartridges. The printer toner cartridges were taken from a hospital in New York. The man was given a seven years prison sentence. Back in 2007, a New Jersey man who worked at a stationary supply company stole an estimated 30,000 printer toner cartridges which were valued at $1.72 million. The thefts took place between 2003 and 2005. And the problem is not isolated to the United States. An Australian working in a print shop stole 23,000 toner cartridges said to be valued at an estimated $2.4 million.

“As you can see, the problem with theft of ink cartridges, laser toner cartridges, compatible ink, and printer ink cartridges can be rampant. No doubt, employers will be looking out for this from now on and many will be taking precautions to prevent it. Do not be surprised if you find that your printing supplies are stored under lock and key in the future. With thousands of dollars at risk in these printing supplies many workplaces will have no other choice but to become more proactive in their protection policies at the workplace. It should also be noted that many courts and prosecutors are taking this kind of theft more seriously and are prosecuting suspects much more harshly than they did in the past when the theft of office supplies was looked upon as a minor offense best handled inside the workplace itself.”

(Excerpt from Tomato Ink)

Tips to reduce carbon footprint of printing

Printer Toner Carbon Footprint

As Carbon Tax and rising energy costs put extra pressure on businesses, we’re all looking at ways to work more efficiently.

Office printing, including paper, power and consumables, is a high office expense. Printer manufacturer, Lexmark, has indicated that printers global warming impact is generated 80% by Paper, 8% through Energy Consumption and 6% through cartridges. By using a multifunction printer and combining duplex and multi-up you can reduce your CO2 emissions by up to 45%.

Here are some extra tips, from Lexmark and www.retailblue.com.au, to reduce your carbon footprint.

A) Think before you print

  • Only print documents you need and avoid printing emails and drafts.
  • Use print preview to avoid mistakes before printing
  • Use duplex printing (double sided printing) to halve your paper use
  • Archive your documents using scan instead of printing.
  • Print drafts, greyscale or low dpi versions

B) Reduce Consumption

  • “Super size me” – Use high yield cartridges to reduce plastic usage and shipping
  • Use the draft mode to save ink and toner and reduce cartridge waste
  • Print in black and white rather than in colour when colour is not needed
  • Use workgroup printers to streamline equipment and save power
  • In your home use wireless printing or network to a single to reduce the number of printers
  • Turn your printer off in your workplace or home overnight or when not in use to reduce power consumption
  • Use the right printer for the job. Local printer centres in your city may be a better way to print high volume jobs.
  • Upgrade your printer technology – old printers may be less efficient in power and cartridge use.

C) Recycle

  • Reuse paper for draft work whenever possible
  • Provide separate recycling bins for paper and cartridges
  • Use free manufacturer collection programs to reuse or recycle your cartridges
  • Recycle end of life printers

Happy (sensible) printing!