Earth Day is April 22, which makes it a great time to think about ways to go green with technology. Thanks to new technologies, there are more ways than ever to increase efficiency and help both the environment and your bottom line.
Here are 6 ways that you can be environmentally friendly using technology.
1. Recycle Your E-Waste
The fact is that as Americans we produce tons (literally, an estimated 9.4 million tons a year) of e-waste. And the EPA estimates that only 12.5% of e-waste is actually recycled. That means that copper, silver, gold and palladium – all precious metals that can be recovered – are wasting away in landfills.
There are many, many options for recycling your old electronics, computers and other gadgets. Many are as easy as just dropping off at a local retailer (Best Buy, Staples and Verizon, for example).
The primary thing is to avoid just throwing these items out where they’ll end up in a landfill. While inexpensive mobile phone and even laptops may SEEM disposable these days, there is a hefty environmental cost associated with just dumping them…especially when you consider that there are more mobile phones in existence than there are people on the planet.
Earth911’s website includes a comprehensive listing of recycling solutions for a large variety of items, and you can search by item or by zip code.
Recycling can even pay, as some retailers will buy back old electronics from you, or at minimum offer you a credit towards the purchase of a new one. Target, Verizon and Apple have buy-back programs – check their websites for the must up-to-date details on these options.
For anyone in the Centreville, MD area, we still accept old computers and laptops for recycling at our Headquarters Office on N. Liberty St.
2. Go Paperless (Or Reduce Your Paper Files)
Remember when email was new, and it was going to create paperless offices?
That idea may not have taken off as predicted, but that doesn’t mean that going paperless isn’t still a viable option.
From an environmental perspective, going paperless is clearly an eco-friendly option. Paperitis estimates that the average office workers uses 10,000 pieces of paper a year. That adds up to 20 reams, or an entire tree. So not using that much paper (or any at all) has a pretty clear environmental impact, in that it will save entire forests.
Thanks to modern cloud storage options, it is absolutely possible for businesses to embrace going paperless. And beyond helping the planet, this option also saves people time, saves the company money and storage space, and helps to make your business more flexible. That’s because documents stored in the cloud are easier to find, accessible by employees in any location, and more secure.
According to the EPA, a paperless office can save you about $80 per employee per year. These savings are related to the cost of paper, ink, storage space and even postage. Not to mention the cost of time spent hunting for paper documents in dusty filing cabinets.
For any business interested in going paperless (or at least reducing its reliance on paper files) we strongly recommend having a well-thought-out plan before proceeding. This plan should address the disposal of existing documents, document collection and organization, and off-site storage for your digital files.
Equally as important is the set-up of the infrastructure that you create for saving, editing, organizing and sharing documents digitally in the cloud.