Hayden Hamilton came up with the idea for GreenPrint, software that eliminates unnecessary clutter from web printouts, back when he was working for Ford in Europe. "By noon, there'd be dozens of pages that had been left [by the printer] that had a URL or a banner ad or legal jargon scattered all over."
Of course some websites have "printer friendly" versions of articles. But for the many that don't (shame on them), GreenPrint helps you save paper in three ways. First, it will bring up a print preview that highlights typical wasteful content so you can print only what you need.
Second, it lets you easily save web pages rather than print them by using a button in your browser to convert them to PDFs. Lastly, for rough drafts and other unofficial documents, you have the option to print to a designated "waste page printer" which contains paper that's already been used on one side.
Until the end of the year, you can download the software from the GreenPrint website for $25 (after that, the price goes up to $35). You can also try it for two weeks before you buy. Lose the printer garble, gain some trees. Now, that’s a trade off we can live with.
Story by Jacquelyn Lane. This article originally appeared in Plenty in November 2006.