Planting with printers: Chicago man recycles paper with electronic forestry

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In his spare time Chicago resident Joe Miller runs what may be the coolest eco-friendly company with the coolest name ever.

Print-A-Forest makes a free computer software that turns your  routine printing projects into a plant-a-tree fundraiser. By getting a small  message from plant-a-tree sponsors across the bottom of your printed pages, you pay for planting trees.

An example: “Powered by State Farm” could appear on the bottom of the page if the insurance company sponsored the planting. Pretty simple.

The Arbor Day Foundation  will plant a tree for every 100 sponsored pages that are printed.

That means 75 trees are planted for every one tree’s worth of paper. This simple action lets you fight deforestation from your home or workplace.

Pretty cool, right? I caught up with Joe via email and asked him to dish on his  experiences at Michigan State University where he developed the software as a student and to talk more about the company.

Q: What did you study at MSU? What experiences there, set-you up to pursue what you’re doing now?

A: I was a finance major.. Have bled green and white my whole life.  Love Michigan State and my experience there.

Q: That’s a pretty neat idea. How did it all start? Who are all the people involved in making this happen?

A: I had the idea for Print-a-Forest as a Michigan State student, and support from MSU administration helped to get the ball rolling with the software.  Print-a -Forest owes a lot of its creation to MSU.

We have partnered with The Arbor Day Foundation to plant our trees.

Q: How important is this issue? In Michigan?

A: I think being environmentally aware is important no matter where you live.  Being a Print-a-Forester is about caring enough about the environment to take a moment and a couple clicks of a mouse to give back.  Not everyone has the financial ability to donate money to the environment, but Print-a- Forest allows anyone to transform the paper they print into a forest of newly planted trees.

Q: What’s next for you/future goals? Future ideas for this company?

I’d like to continue to build products that make our world a better place.


3 thoughts on “Planting with printers: Chicago man recycles paper with electronic forestry

  1. The trees being planted significantly outweigh the amount of paper being printed. 1 tree = about 8500 sheets. The point is to continue with your normal printing habits. Once you reach a certain milestone, a tree is planted.

  2. We encourage our users to use paper from sustainable forests, and digital documents whenever possible. At Print a Forest we like to think of it as… what we cannot reduce, we must offset. If you must print, why not Print a Forest.

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