Being a graduate student, I have a lot of crap to print. Professors always want us to read extra outside articles in addition to whatever textbook readings there are. Plus, I want to save a lot of these for my doctoral comprehensive exams in a few years for studying purposes. When I first moved here, I was fascinated by the fact that Kansas seems to lack an environmental awareness, and the amount of printing seems to only add to it. My undergraduate university had double-sided printers everywhere, which saved students A LOT of paper. Imagine the difference of only using 15 pages of paper rather than 30.
I know many of you are probably thinking, "Why don't you just read them on your computer? That is a much more ecofriendly way of reading papers for classes." I know. And I agree with you. However, I care about my vision, I'm not someone who can read 30 pages of pdf files for hours without getting a headache. Plus, I am also someone who likes to take notes on the paper and highlight certain ideas. Its much more generative for my thinking.
Anyway, so yesterday my husband was having issues with one of our older printers. He was trying to print homework for his classes and the printer just kept saying the paper was out when it clearly was not. We ended up printing from my printer (I seem to accumulate free ones when I buy new computers, and I have another in my office). But overall, I cannot express how much I hate inkjet printers. If one drop of water touches the paper, the ink goes everywhere, and I find myself conserving the ink as much as possible because it seems to run out so quickly, thus costing me another $30 to $35 for more ink cartridges. While I am sure there are ways to save in this department (refilling cartridges rather than buying new ones, primarily), I have decided to purchase a laser printer with double sided printing. When you actually look at the money you save buy going with a laser printer, in addition to the double-sided printing, its quite amazing.
With a laser printer cartridge (i.e. toner), I bought a $70 "high-yield" cartridge that prints approximately 7,000 pages. That's 1 cent per page. Comparing to ink jet cartridges, which can differ in price, but if you just say $35, which is what I paid on average for an ink cartridge for my Canon printer, averages about anywhere from 200 to 450 pages at 5% coverage. If you are at a higher capacity, (the 450 page mark) that's about 8 cents a page, and at lower capacity (200 pages) it costs around 18 cents a page. That's a huge difference!
With my husband now returning to school and needing to read outside articles, I could only see benefit in purchasing a laser printer. "But aren't those expensive? They are usually a very big and complex machine." I hear you thinking. True, but its a key to know of where are the right places to look. Amazon.com, for example offers excellent deals on laser printers, rather than paying full or expensive prices at your local Office Max or Best Buy. I purchased the Brother HL-5250DN REFURBISHED printer. For a new one of these printers, it would be $190 on Amazon.com, or $250 at a store. A refurbished printer cost $160. New or refurbished, I don't think this printer is very expensive in comparison to other laser printers, especially ones with all the bells and whistles. But when I buy refurbished, I save $90! You can always save money by purchasing a company refurbished product, which also typically comes with a warranty to ease your mind.
Add this all up with the amount of paper you save by using a double sided printer (which you can always turn off if you have a paper to turn in that cannot be double sided), the savings are colossal. If you have a lot to print, consider looking at what else is out these. Laser printers are more affordable nowadays than you think.