One way of reducing the use of inks for printing is to use a lower quality setting. HP calls this Economode. A lot of companies have made the smart decision to use this lower quality setting as the default printer setting. This will still allow you to make higher quality prints when needed, but requires a couple more clicks before your document comes out of the printer.
Another way is Ecofont. A colleague sent me a link to their webpage. The concept is pretty simple, how much of a letter can you remove while still maintaining readabillity. Extensive testing and “late hours and coffee” resulted in a font that omits parts of letters and can reduce up to 20% of ink.
At this size the font doesn’t look to good and the way it resembles a neon sign might scare office users. However, at standard font sizes (9/10 pt.) Ecofont is very usable.
The font is free to download and use for all users. I expect that it will mostly be acquired for personal use and less for larger companies. Companies are usually bound to a corporate design which would make implementation difficult.
This might not seem like a lot, but what Spranq has done with the Vera Sans font when it turned it into Ecofont, the Microsofts and HPs can do too with everything printed through Windows or HP printers. Saving ink not by changing the way the fonts look, but by changing the way text is sent to the printer or is processed by the printer. Thus reducing ink used for the arial or verdana text, when printed on paper, without changing the way it looks onscreen.