Printing Toolkit

Our favourite tips for saving paper and costs.


Today’s information and communication technologies provide many opportunities for businesses to function with far less paper.


The thickness of paper we use makes a big difference both in terms of cost as well as the amount of paper used.


Tips on how to re-use paper and support recycling efforts.

Paper re-use tips

  • Use the blank sides of unneeded single-sided copies for printing drafts.
  • Use outdated letterhead for in-house memos.
  • Designate a printer for draft printing and use only used paper in its paper tray.
  • Set up office systems to pass reports around to multiple readers, rather than copying them.
  • Re-use envelopes by using address labels.

Support recycling

  • Make sure any paper you use has the maximal recycled content.
  • Collect waste paper and ensure that it is sent for recycling, not landfill.
  • Use paper that is easy to recycle. Avoid paper that has the following contaminants: thermal fax paper, glossy/plastic coatings, plastic windows, bright colours including goldenrod, laser printer inks and adhesive products.


Use paper more efficiently – save paper and money.


  • Copying images on both sides of a sheet of paper can save up to 50% of paper costs. Copying images on both sides, or duplexing, saves money on paper purchasing, as well as on storage and mailing. Duplex copies are also easier to fold and staple. While some prints and copies need to be single-sided, most do not.
  • Change your computer’s default settings so that you can put more text on each page.
  • Reduce margin widths. (In Microsoft Word, go to “File”, then to “Page Setup”. Then choose “Reduce the Margins” and set your margins to smaller numbers. Compared to the normal settings, with 1cm margins you could use up to 14% less paper!)
  • When you are printing, reduce font size to 10 point to decrease the amount of paper required.
  • Use efficient fonts like Times New Roman or Arial. These fonts use significantly less space.
  • Send a fax or Word document without printing first! Simply use the menus in Word: choose “File”, then “Send to”, then “Fax Recipient”, and then follow the instructions. This allows faxes to be sent from computers without the need to print first. It also allows faxes to be received in an e-mail rather than printed copy format. Help on this should be available from your IT department.
  • When sending a paper fax, eliminate cover sheets and use fax stick-on labels instead.
  • Program your fax to eliminate confirmation sheets.
  • The ability to reduce or enlarge images is common on copiers.
  • Image reduction is also possible with printing.
  • For example, when copying a book, one can often get two original pages on to one side of the copied sheet. Because reduction works in two dimensions, you only need to reduce by 30% (to 70%) to cut in half the area of an image.
  • While reproducing entire standard pages requires a 35% reduction (to 65%), books often have smaller than standard pages and most documents have larger than necessary margins, so the reduction can usually be less than this.
  • The ability to reduce or enlarge images is common on copiers. Image reduction is also possible with printing.
  • Keep copiers and printers in good repair and make it your company’s policy to only buy copiers and printers that make reliable double-sided copies.
  • Let your copier maintenance person know when a copier is performing poorly (toner is low, jams frequently, etc.). Regular copier maintenance is important, especially if the toner is low. Many times copiers are used until all the toner is gone and that wears down machines. A copier that works well is less likely to jam and this helps save paper!