A Green Tip For You – Receipt Printing

I was speaking to a coworker and mentioned something I do with receipts from online purchases.  He seemed to think that it was a great idea.  It just seemed so second nature to me that I didn’t even realize that people might not know about it.  Given that this holiday season brings many online purchases, I figured that it would be a good tip to share.  (Ok, most of you have probably bought everything you’re going to buy online for the holiday season, humor me on this point, ok?  )

What you will need:

  • PDFCreator – PDFCreator is a free, open-source application that can create PDF files from any file that you can print.  It fools your system into thinking that there is printer called PDFCreator.  When documents (Word files, web pages, photos, etc) are printed to this "printer", they don’t emerge on paper but are saved to a PDF file.  Since it is free, you can install it on all of your computers without paying a single penny.

The Green Tip:

Upon completing an online purchase, you’ll usually be presented with a receipt for your purchase.  Many would print this receipt out to have onhand in case they need it, but this can waste paper.  Instead, I print the receipt to PDF.  To make it easier to find, I put all of my receipts in a folder (appropriately called "Receipts") and name the PDF files in a way that I’ll remember what they were for.  e.g. "2008-12-23 – Amazon.com – Another Good Book.pdf"  Then, if I ever need to find my receipt, I simply open the cooresponding PDF file.  I haven’t yet needed to print a receipt out, but if I need to, they’ll all be there as good as new while a receipt printed at the time of sale can fade, tear, or get lost.  I don’t know offhand how many trees I’ve saved by not printing out my receipts, but every little bit counts.


  • this is a great tip. i do this too and it works really well. plus i can email receipts to my husband if i need him to save them.

    i use pdf995, which i’ve been very happy with.

  • I will have to try this. I usually just do not print them because every place I have ordered from sends an email anyhow, so I do not worry about them. I print very little of anything anymore. 🙂

  • This is a great idea. I try to print as little as possible. I think it takes me about a year to get through one ream of paper. You’re not just killing trees either. Toner and ink cartridge manufacture/use/disposal/recycling have their impact too.

    Hey Mac users, when you hit print, you can create a PDF. No need for 3rd party software.

    BTW, when I saw “NHL” in your tag cloud, I thought, “sweet! Hockey fan!” D’oh!

  • TechyDad

    Actually, my wife is a hockey fan. The NHL initials were a coincidence though. (Honest!) We toyed with having our second child’s initials be AHL, but couldn’t find any names we liked with those initials. 😉