/ Technology

Your view: would an ink tariff make you think before you print?

Last week we asked you for your thoughts on having a monthly tariff for your printing. While most of you were against it, could it help us be more eco-friendly?

Last week we asked you about HP’s new monthly tariff for printing ink. Starting from £1.99 per month, you can print 50 pages of text, photos or images. But is that a good deal or a bad deal?

It’s hard to work out, and Malcolm R was concerned whether the tariff had our best interests at heart:

‘I use a Canon printer and get, to my mind, excellent results, including photos using Canon ink. I am suspicious of any “subscription” scheme like HP’s – cynically I doubt if it will operate in most consumers best interests.’

This was followed by a series of comments against the scheme. Dieseltaylor felt it was just a marketing ploy:

‘As a marketing wheeze, briliant, but I would not touch it with a barge pole. The idea that overall this service is not designed to make HP a profit is untenable and seems to be aimed at taking out of play the independent ink suppliers.’

Wavechange has similar suspicions, thinking this is a way of getting us to spend more:

‘Monthly printing tariffs could suit a few people but are no doubt intended to get us to spend more and discourage us from looking at third party products. Not for me, thank-you.’

But John Ward was more worried about using up his sheet allowance:

‘I wouldn’t be happy about paying by the sheet as it’s often the case that the last page of a printed document only carries a few lines of printed image. We also “waste” a certain amount through drafts, reworked and updated documents, and formatting trials.’

So maybe documents should be more printer friendly, as David MacCauley said:

‘What annoys me is printing tickets, boarding passes and “collect at store info” where the whole job over-runs by a couple of lines causing a second page to come out. Yes, there are ways around this but how many pages get wasted?’

Do you really need to print that?

Bob Fasoli is in favour of the tariff:

‘I also believe that this method would mean people would think more and print less, only when it was correct. Print Preview is the way to go. I like the “roll over” and if I decide to change printers, personally this would be the way I would go.’

Maxwild prints much less than he used to:

‘I convert as much as I can to pdf and view via OneDrive on my phone or tablet. QR codes for ticketing, boarding passes etc are a development that is helping to minimise paper.’

And this reminded Wavchange how little he actually prints:

‘This Conversation has made me realise how little I print compared with ten or fifteen years ago. I rarely print photos because they can be viewed on screen and distributed to others in various ways by computer.’

So do you think we waste ink and paper by not formatting pages for printing? How could we get around that? And do you really need to print as much as you do?

Eric Goldup says:
6 February 2015

Price of any commodity should be the cost of manufacture plus a modest profit margin. Too much money flow is distorted by tax surcharges etc. etc. Save paper and ink by reducing unwanted mail advertising. Makers of the printing equipment might enhance profits with reduced advertising.


Nearly every time I turn on the printer, it tells me there are inks out of date.

Think this must mean I am eco-friendly when it comes to printing !!!


What are we trying to save – paper or ink? If you want to save ink and/or cost then use draft mode. Use 3rd party inks. If you want to save paper you can use A5 for many documents. Best use print preview – printing emails can often give several unwanted pages of,say, T&Cs on an order acknowledgement so just print what you need – use “print pages number….” , “print current page” or select the text you want and use “print selection”. Print double sided. All sorts of ways to save.

I prefer to print important documents to file away rather than leave them on the computer – they are easier to read, annotate, refer to quickly and are available if my computer misbehaves. I also print important photos to keep and distribute – so much nicer to look at. I produce 12 copies of an annual calendar for the family – A5 date pages with information on the back, A6 photo page per month – and a sports club fixture list for all members as my main “bulk” printing. Inevitably accompanied by mistakes that I only spot when looking through a draft hard copy. I wouldn’t want to feel restricted by tariffs or contracts.

So make people aware of ways to save, but then let them get on with what they choose.


The reason why inject printers ‘waste’ ink is to help ensure that printheads do not get blocked. I believe that inkjet printers use more ink than is necessary to keep the ink flowing frequently.

If a colour inkjet printer has a problem it’s usually with one of the three or more colours, or black that is affected. The cleaning procedure generally cleans all of them. That can waste a great deal of ink. Why clean all the heads if only one is affected? More profit for the manufacturer of the cartridges, which might also be the printer manufacturer.

Companies are in business to make a profit. Fair enough – they are not non-profit-making charities. Time and time again we see examples of greed, and maybe that applies here.


I leave my printer on all the time and do not seem to use much ink for head-cleaning. Even less of an issue if you use cheap 3rd party inks.

I’ll be interested in how the Epson Ecoprinter behaves with its large, low cost, ink tanks.


My HP wireless printer uses 5W on standby. I leave it on, more for convenience than to save ink.

PeterB says:
23 February 2015

My HP printer uses 5 separate colour cartridges “for economy” only needing to change each colour when it’s run out. I used to turn off the printer after each use until I went through all 5 of HP’s very expensive colour cartridges without printing a single colour page, due to the “cleaning” operation each time the printer was turned on. I too now leave the printer on permanently and use Internet-Ink’s compatible cartridges which contain much more ink and and are still considerably cheaper than HP’s and I cannot tell the difference in the quality of the photographs. Their printing programs and apps also claim the ink is running out when there is plenty left, even on their own cartridges. The ePrint app regularly asks me to download the SureSupply app which automatically orders new HP cartridges! In their dreams!


I’m using Internet Ink too, Peter, but my printer has only three colour cartridges. The compatible cartridges don’t last any longer than the genuine HP ones in my case. I mentioned that the printer uses 5W on standby, but this eventually drops to 3W. Thankfully my printer is a few years old and knows nothing about ordering new cartridges. 🙂