I have, once or twice, been given something printed out by a client from on-screen instructions, as if the act of printing converted the written word from a mere state of virtual being into a more corporeal reality. In the modern age, such pockets of luddite resistance are rarely encountered, but that's not to say that printing does not have it's uses. You can, for example... well, I can't actually think of any, but I'm sure there are uses for them.
The cash point of printers is always ink, or in the case of laser printers, toner - that's how they get you. The printers themselves are usually cheap, but the ink and toner is designed to keep you indebted for life. For toner cartridges there isn't much of a way around this, but for ink cartridges there are a few ways you can scrimp and save on the coloured liquid. For starters 'knock off' cartridges are usually to be found, usually in PBtech or Warehouse Stationary.
These are non-name-brand cartridges which have the same characteristics and ink type as the branded cartridges. Printer cartridge refill shops also are around, and the product is usually ok, but usually not too much cheaper than the knock off brands. The necessity to keep a shop open eats into margins. A better approach is to find a printer which has larger cartridges - Epson and Canon have a few of these. A larger cartridge means less plastic in the environment, and overall the cost per ml of ink is cheaper.
Lastly, for some printers at least, you can actually buy refill kits and refill the cartridges yourself - although these are becoming harder to come by. It is a fiddly job, with a lot of ink spill and coloured hands inevitable, but if you buy the ink in large quantities, you can make printing virtually free. Well, until the printer itself breaks down. So maybe don't buy too much ink.
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