For some reason I’ve been noticing a lot of greenwashing recently. At work we have plastic recycling bins along with receptacles for waste paper and cans. This is good because we get free bottles of water, juice and other modern comestibles. So, at least by recycling we can do something to offset the wanton destruction on the environment that these things bring. Incredibly though, I find myself pulling out three of four empty milk, drink and other plastic bottles from the general waste bin, and putting these into their correct place. Every day.

Are the people that throw plastic bottles into the general waste the same people that also print out everything they see on their screens? Some of the things I have seen by printers (uncollected) are mind blowing in both their pointlessness and sheer volume. At LBi all the printers doubled as shelves for mounds of unclaimed printouts. If it weren’t for the cleaners, we would have probably been able to cover them completely with this jetsam by the end of each week.

Expedia, however, practice one thing that is both convenient and green (as a side effect at least): “secure printing.” I’d not encountered this before I arrived, but everyone’s printer drivers default to this mode. When you send something to print, it is held by the printer itself in a queue shown on the console. Your print job awaits the input of your password before the printer actually prints it. This is convenient because it ensures your job is not lost inside somebody else’s run, or misplaced before you can get to the printer. It also removes the need pathetically to spam the office with “Please do not print to the printer in the next 10 mins because I need to do 80 copies of my report now.”

It is also of course green because it means the aforementioned print lunatics are unable to waste energy: the secure queue is automatically erased at the end of the day.