Reduce Paper Waste Printing Web Pages

Printing web pages can be a frustrating experience, yielding both poor layouts and wasted paper. @greenit recently called attention to three utilities purporting to reduce print waste, one desktop-based and two online. The Vertatique home page can be challenging to to print since it is a dynamic assembly from an underlying content management system (Drupal CMS), rather than a hard-coded HTML page, so I used it for a quick test of the two online utilities.

To establish a baseline, I looked at the Preview display of Vertatique in each of the three browsers I have running on my MacBook: Safari 4.0, Firefox 3.0, and Internet Explorer 6.0 (under XP). Explorer generated the most pages: six versus four for each of the others. Safari yielded the best layout.'s demo yielded a four-page Preview similar to Safari's and offered some interesting editing/formatting features which I did not try. (See 06/19/2009 comment from Jonathan, below.)'s demo appeared to have the most trouble with Vertatique's CMS-driven content. Its Preview yielded a single page containing only the text of the most recent post. (See 06/19/2009 comment from Frederic, below.)

- I used Safari to test both online utilities.
- I did not actually print to paper, as printing ~20 pages did not seem consistent with the spirit of the exercise.
- A newer Windows browser/OS pairing might yield better results. Please post a comment if you can get better Windows results with the Vertatique home page.

Update 2011.07.28
PrintEco is another option, offering plugins for Office, IE, and Firefox. PrintEco only works with Microsoft operating systems.

Living a Green Life

Thanks for the reviews. This is another way for us to be more environmentally conscientious. Not only does printing pages waste paper, is also wastes energy. This application solves the wasted paper dilemma. As for the power, there are all kinds of power savers out there. I think everyone should look into both.

In our office, we have one

In our office, we have one printer that just prints to the back of scrap paper collected at the other printers. We use this printer for internal stuff that will ultimately be thrown out. It is amazing how much paper we save by doing this.

User effort

In line with my sometimes cynical attitude to the general willingness of humanity to actually DO something, rather than TALK about doing something.

And I do include myself here, it is daily battle get out of the shower, and I know it uses lots of energy!

I tried the "printwhatyoulike" version, using Firefox. I am an experienced user but it still took me a few minutes to get familiar with making it work. I did add the link to my bookmarks toolbar, and I commit to try and use it each time I need to print a page.

But, I operate a site which is all about promoting open source technology for Green IT. You might expect that a post like this would get my attention. And yes I have done a write up, and I do hope it will reach some of our users.

I do encourage all readers of this entry, and this comment to try and make an extra effort, if not for the planet - for it will do what it will - but as I have said many times, do it because it is the right thing to do!

Fantastic post! Next time you

Fantastic post! Next time you use, try playing around with the formatting options to save more paper. On my
browser, the homepage prints 3 pages long. I was able to reduce that to just 1 page with by isolating the main page content, then reducing the text size a bit. Try it out:


Very interresting, so what we can learn from this little experiment is that Safari is natively optimised to print webpages, which, obviously, is not the case for Internet Explorer... Again...

About PrintFriendly, I think the result is better on article than on the homepage. On (based on Drupal CMS) it works like a charm !

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.