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Cutting Down Costs, Not Trees

One entrepreneur is saving the environment--and your pocketbook--by eliminating wasted printer paper.
June 29, 2007
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/180998

Who: Hayden Hamilton, 30
What:GreenPrint Technology, eco-friendly software that eliminates wasteful pages before they're printed
Where: Portland, Oregon

Anyone who works in an office or has a printer at home has experienced the frustration--and guilt--of printing a one-page e-mail, only to be forced to throw away three extra pages of unwanted legal jargon and banner ads. Thanks to GreenPrint Technology's analytical software, you'll not only save money wasted on paper and ink, but you'll also save a tree or two.

The average employee prints six wasted pages per day. At an average of $0.06 a page, employers are spending nearly $85 a year--per employee--in wasted paper.

"On top of the clear waste it's producing, it's also creating inefficiency," says company founder Hayden Hamilton. For him, the final straw came after noticing the huge amounts of wasted paper being created at his former office. The large, five-story office building had 20 to 30 print stations, each overflowing with unwanted printouts by 11 a.m. The mess forced busy executives to root through stacks of paper on the printer--and even the floor--trying to locate a document they printed 10 minutes earlier.

Hamilton's solution was a program that analyzes the content of each print job for pages that have wasteful characteristics, such as legal jargon you'd find in an e-mail from a bank or airline and pages that contain a single URL or banner ad. All the pages in the document are displayed on one screen, with the pages detected as wasteful highlighted in red. The user has the option of quickly adding and removing pages from the print job with a click of the mouse. In addition, images you don't need to print, such as pictures and ads, can be removed to save ink. According to Hamilton, GreenPrint can save larger companies up to 20 percent in reduced costs and increased efficiency.

Starting an eco-friendly company was only natural for Hamilton, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and headquartered his company in Portland, Oregon, one of the top 10 "green" cities in the U.S., according to National Geographic's "The Green Guide." "Being environmentally conscious was instilled in me at an early age," he says, recalling the time he spent at his grandmother's house every summer, hiking and playing outdoors. As an active member of the eco-friendly Sierra Club, she taught Hamilton the importance of protecting the environment.

Today, Hamilton is proud of GreenPrint's potential impact on the environment. According to his website, a Fortune 500 company using GreenPrint Technology would save more than $2 million in reduced costs, save more than 4,000 trees and prevent 12,623 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. And if all new computers used GreenPrint, it would save more than 36 million trees every year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 117 million tons--the equivalent of removing 23 million cars from the road for an entire year.

Hamilton is hoping to make this predicted environmental impact a reality. He's already working with Fortune 500 companies, and the product can currently be purchased online for $35 for the home-user version.

Hamilton, who launched GreenPrint in 2005, expects sales of $5 million to $10 million in 2007. His biggest reward, however, is seeing the impact his small company of five full-time employees is making on the world. As his mission statement so proudly boasts, he really is saving money today, trees tomorrow.