GreenPrint: Smarter Printing and Saving Trees

How many times have you printed something and thrown away the last page because it’s just a URL, legal disclaimer, or banner ad? Or waited for ages for a document to print because it’s cluttered up with images you don’t really want or need anyway? Well, GreenPrint Technologies thinks that its new software, called GreenPrint World, can save 100 million trees by identifying just such wasteful behavior. Oh and here’s another nice little incentive: it’s FREE.

Portland, Ore.-based GreenPrint said today it’s making the paper- and ink-saving software available free for download for home users worldwide. “Our goal is nothing short of ending wasteful printing worldwide,” 30-year-old CEO Hayden Hamilton said in a press release (Hamilton was featured in the latest version of Inc. magazine‘s annual “30 Under 30″ hot list).

The software analyzes every page you print, and eliminates wasteful extra pages and unwanted images. It also features a print preview called GreenView, and keeps a running report on how many pages, how much money, even how many pounds of greenhouse gases you’ve saved every time you print. It could add up: The company estimates that using this software will save the average person $90 and 1,200 pages a year.

That’s great for you, but how is three-year-old GreenPrint making any money? The free software is only part of the picture. The company also makes several licensed versions of the software which include more features and costs around $75 for the corporate product, $35 for home version. Unlike those versions, the free GreenPrint World does include advertising (although GreenPrint says it donated that space to its environmental partners and “organizations it feels are doing important work with health care in the developing world”).

According to a recent profile of Hamilton, he started the company with $200,000 of his own money from savings and friends, and GreenPrint turned a (very) small profit in 2006. GreenPrint is optimistic about its future. Hamilton points out that ink, per gallon, has turned into one of the costliest materials on the planet, so maybe it makes sense to start cutting back on that other black liquid that keeps our businesses churning.