Nice Reminder Not to Print for No Reason, But...
A few weeks ago Jaymi wrote about a new 'green' file format created by the German chapter of the WWF. I hate to be a party pooper, but I have a few thoughts about the practical realities that face this new file format.
Why I Don't Think It Will Work
First, I must say that the concept behind the WWF file format is kind of cool. But I seriously doubt it will actually do much in practice. The problems are numerous: New file formats have to reach a critical mass before they are widely adopted, and that doesn't happen very often. I doubt it'll happen for this one since it's the same as an existing format minus one feature. There's also the problem that those who will know about it and use it are probably the very people who aren't printing tons of stuff for no reason, while those who do probably won't install it (and the kind of files they print are probably not sent by people who used the WWF format).
I think the main benefit of this format is that it reminds us about a basic but important concept: Don't print documents if you don't need to.
The most effective way that I've seen of spreading that message is to put signs around office printers and photocopiers that ask people not to print unnecessarily, or at least to print on both sides of the page if they really have to have a hard copy of something.