A multipass color printer prints a color image by printing one color place at a time in a prescribed order, e.g., in a four-color systems, the cyan plane may be printed first, the magenta next, and so on. It is desirable to discard the data related to each color plane once it has been printed, so that data from the next print may be downloaded. In this paper, we present a compression scheme that allows the release of a color plane memory, but still takes advantage of the correlation between the color planes. The compression scheme is based on a block adaptive technique for decorrelating the color planes followed by a spatial lossy compression of the decorrelated data. A preferred method of lossy compression is the DCT-based JPEG compression standard, as it is shown that the block adaptive decorrelation operations can be efficiently performed in the DCT domain. The result of the compression technique are compared to that of using JPEG on RGB data without any decorrelating transform. In general, the technique is shown to improve the compression performance over a practical range of compression ratios by at least 30 percent in all images, and up to 45 percent in some images.