soy-based ink allows for easier recycling

soy-based ink makes paper recycling easier

With the new semester approaching, the library inevitably thinks about research and writing…and all the extra printer pages and photocopies that get left in the printing rooms or get tossed into the recycle bins.  We know this probably happens at your house too, so — in addition to encouraging users to only print what is necessary, to use duplex printing, and use/contribute to our “scrap” piles — we share a couple of  “green printing” tips that may also save you money in the process.

A Dutch company — Spranq — has come up with a small-but-effective advance in green-printing by developing their “eco-font” which uses up to 20% less ink.  The  free, open-source version is geared toward individual home-printing or in-office printing for small companies.  The font looks like the “verdana” font and is said to display best  in “10-point” setting; but a trial run in our household with an HP photosmart inkjet looked fine at 12 points too. Directions for adding the font to your machine is included on the site.  (note:  EcoFont Professional for large companies has also been developed, and can be licensed for a fee.)

If you buy ink for your home printer, you might consider ordering your ink cartridges from LaserMonks.  They offer ink, toner, fax and copier supplies for many major brands, but sell them for much less money.  LaserMonks have also recently introduced a  soybean-oil-based toner (rather than the standard petroleum-based toner) which touts three benefits:  “It’s easier to recycle paper printed with soy. And perhaps more important in a sour economy, soy toners can cost less than the standard alternative. Soybeans are a renewable resource whose price is likely to be more stable than that of oil” (Ramde).  To all these benefits, this we might add that the soy-toners come from a company in Maine,  so the carbon footprint is smaller than shipping toners from Taiwan.  LaserMonk’s motto is “commerce with compassion,” and Fr. Bernard McCoy, O. Cist. — Steward of Temporal Affairs, Cistercian Abbey and CEO of LaserMonks —  expresses their mission best:  “By purchasing printing supplies from LaserMonks, our customers not only save money, they support the monks’ modest life of prayer and our good works.”

Thanks to Kevin Rioux for bringing Lasermonks and Ecofont to our attention.  For more “green news”  by category check out the  Sierra Club’s “green life” blog.   For a room-by-room guide to a greener home, check out National Geographics’ Green Guide to everyday living.  Please also feel free to use our “comments” section to add your own hints, and we’ll compile them on a LibGuide.


Berlin, J. “Holey Grail.” National Geographic, Environment Section.  August, 2009. p.14

McCoy, B.  “About Lasermonks,” website. Retrieved from, accessed 8/21/2009.

Ramde, D.  “Black and White Printing Goes Green with Soy Toner,” website.  Apr 22, 2009.  Retrieved from Accessed Aug 21, 2009.