This Teen’s Brilliantly Simple Idea Would Save The U.S. Government $400 Million

03.30.14 4 years ago 17 Comments

font change

Like any good teenager, 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani was trying to think of ways to save his middle school money. While attending Dorseyville Middle School, Mirchandani, who’s interested in applying to computer science to promote environmental sustainability, noticed the glut of paper he was receiving on a daily basis. There’s not much he could do to END PAPER once and for all, but Mirchandani had an even better idea: BAN PRINTER INK. Or at least cut down on its use. As any intern who’s ever had to lug their way down to Staples for their superiors knows, printer ink is really expensive. But there’s a simple way to save.

Collecting random samples of teachers’ handouts, Suvir concentrated on the most commonly used characters (e, t, a, o and r). First, he charted how often each character was used in four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. Then he measured how much ink was used for each letter, using a commercial tool called APFill® Ink Coverage Software.

Next he enlarged the letters, printed them and cut them out on cardstock paper to weigh them to verify his findings. He did three trials for each letter, graphing the ink usage for each font.

From this analysis, Suvir figured out that by using Garamond with its thinner strokes, his school district could reduce its ink consumption by 24%, and in turn save as much as $21,000 annually. (Via)

To quote Beebe Bluff, THINK BIG(ger).

Using the General Services Administration’s estimated annual cost of ink — $467 million — Suvir concluded that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively it could save nearly 30% — or $136 million per year. An additional $234 million could be saved annually if state governments also jumped on board, he reported. (Via)

None of this will matter when Apple and Google team up to destroy BIG PAPER in 2031, but until then, yes, let’s do what Mirchandani suggests, and enjoy our paper turkeys while we can.


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