This is a pretty simple How-To-Tuesday, and I'm a little embarrassed to say I never figured all of this out until very VERY recently since I'm not one to play around much with the various print dialogs my computer offers. I typically look at paper size, paper type, borderless printing, and if I'm making an art print I make sure the quality is set to either "Best" or "Maximum DPI."
Of course when trying to be eco-friendly it's best to print as infrequently as possible, but sometimes there are documents you simply must print. I always use 100% post-consumer recycled paper from Staples.
For years I've been clicking the "Paper Type/Quality" section of the print dialog and selecting Grayscale. The black ink cartridge for my HP printer is HUGE and the colored ones are so little, and they are expensive, so obviously I don't want to waste them when I'm just printing a coupon or typed document.
It would seem obvious to me that if you tell the printer to print in black and white only, it will do just that- only print from the black cartridge.
Here's are the other things I recently discovered!
Click "Color Options" then choose "Black Print Cartridge Only." Otherwise you have your colored inks combining with the black ink to print a black and white document. How silly is that!
Next click "ink" and set your slider over to "Light." You won't get a super super dark print this way, but for most things, how dark do you really need it?
Play around with the sliders and see what kind of results you get.
I hope these simple little tips help you save on money and ink! Better for your wallet and the environment.
*Note, this dialog is on a Mac computer, but I think windows computers have a similar print dialog.