Friday, August 15, 2008

Woeful Waste

For years now when I print a document I stand by the printer with paper in my hand and feed it in one sheet at a time. When the printer spits out a page, I flip it and re-insert it in order to make double sided documents. I was puzzled that American photocopiers had the ability to turn documents of all kinds into double-sided copies but American printers somehow never developed the technology to make double-sided prints.

I will happily admit that this is as much an indictment of my gullibility as of the manufacturers of printers in America who like to keep consumers in the dark. I was disabused of the seeming backwardness of printer technology when I got the opportunity to work at a university in the U.K. where all printers were capable of printing double-sided documents with no extra trouble. You just made the appropriate selection on the print set-up screen on your computer. It seems that the regulations for recycling etc., being more stringent across the pond, the very same manufacturers were indeed able to surmount this problem of printers that could print on both sides of a sheet of paper.

Even today, I am unable to find double-sided printing as a feature on common household American printers. If you search you can find some 'special' printers marketed for having this 'fabulous' money and paper saving feature!! Paying extra for such printers is something a few corporate companies may do. But most small businesses as well as academia and those of us regular folks at home often get by with the state-of-the-art for home printers which hasn't changed for the last decade or more. So folks like me have to stand by the printer and feed it one page at a time and take about 10 times as long to print a document as a double-sided printer would take.

Here's a guy, who missing his corporate double-sided printer figured out another way to overcome his lack of double sided printing. Again, you will note the convoluted steps one has to go through to do something that is good for all of us- i.e., use less paper and save some trees. What is it about being located in the world's number one economy and a place where a lot of new research and technology is developed that we can't get manufacturers to take us seriously as consumers? What would it take to get broad access to something as simple as a cheap double-sided printer?

No comments: