I like to reuse paper that's only been printed on on 1 side for small documents that I'll print, read and then discard. Unfortunately my Brother MFCJ430 printer sucks at drawing in multiple sheets of used paper (new paper works fine). To avoid ink smearing and paper jams, I usually load 1 page at a time into the feeder, print 1 page, load another sheet, print another, etc.

It seems that the printer performs a mini cleaning cycle after each print job. Assuming this cleaning consumes some ink: Am I wasting lots of ink by printing 1 page at a time? Or is the ink lost negligible?


I found this blog article that did tests (50 pages) for various printers. Printing in a batch does indeed consume more ink but the test setup used had long breaks between individual prints, including a variant where the printer would be switched off in between. The results vary considerably though with printer models and electricity costs should also be considered for the overall cost.

  • Printer manufacturers claim that used paper produces more paper dust that dirties the rollers and creates feed problems. OTOH, many printers have duplexers that flip the sheet to print on the second side, so a lot of this may relate to the quality, age, and amount of handling of the paper. Humidity and how much moisture the paper has absorbed may also affect it, which is why they advise keeping the unused portion of the paper package sealed if you aren't using it quickly. You can reduce the problem by regularly cleaning the rollers, and fanning the stack of paper when you load it. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Nov 8 '16 at 18:48
  • The ink used for cleaning is significant. You can reduce it somewhat by leaving the printer powered on when not in use if you use it regularly. Unfortunately, it's needed on inkjets to keep ink from drying and clogging the printhead nozzles. If your printing tasks are small and infrequent, an inexpensive laser printer may be more economical. Inkjets contain a tank to hold the spent ink used in the cleaning. That ink dries to a sludge, which greatly reduces its volume. But that tank can fill up and need to be replaced, which tells you how much ink is wasted. – fixer1234 Nov 8 '16 at 18:49
  • Thank you for the tips. I'll clean the rollers and remember to regularly print something for the purpose of maintenance. I have a combined scanner/printer/fax device and mostly use the scanner. – pixelperfect Dec 5 '16 at 14:42

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