Why Switching to Online Fax Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
By Aleks Szymanski
Pressures from environmental groups and the media have highlighted the need for businesses to be more environmentally friendly and some companies have taken profound steps to implement this. For instance some companies have employed ‘environmental teams’ to improve their business processes and some have set emissions targets as one of their important annual goals.
However not all businesses have to go to such lengths, especially smaller businesses, as there are smaller and easier steps that can be made to help reduce a business’s carbon footprint. For example turning electrical equipment off that isn’t being used and recycling where possible are a couple of smaller things. But something that is more monumental is switching from using a traditional fax service to an internet fax service.
Benefits of Internet Fax
There are estimated to be over 23,000,000 business fax machines in the U.S. alone, some of these sit idle in an office. Fax machines require to be left on standby to receive incoming faxes, however when left on standby they continue to clock up huge energy costs for a business.
Unlike traditional fax machines which require an isolated phone line, internet faxes are sent and received online and can be read from computer monitors and other mobile devices. So when moving to Internet fax, businesses can unify their communications into a single point of access, as fax and email can both be sent and received from a single computer. This eliminates the need to have both a fax machine and computer powered up in one instance, which is not only more efficient, but is more cost effective and less damaging for the environment.
Less trees need to be cut down
Internet fax is almost paperless as users only have to print the faxes that they need a hard copy of, whilst the average U.S business fax machine can consume up to 5,000 sheets of paper per year, which equates to 13.8 million trees being cut down each year to print faxes.
With such staggering figures environmental organizations are placing more pressure on businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and updating outdated communication processes such as manual fax machines is a great place to start.
CO2 emissions are reduced
A single business fax machine is routinely left on standby for a period of 24 hours, which means it omits an average of 200 kg of CO2 every day, which equates to 73 tonnes of CO2 emitted by each fax machine annually.
Through the process of carbon sequestration a healthy tree absorbs around 13.5 kg of CO2 a year, but 13.8 million are being cut down each year to source the paper for fax machines. This shows that fax machines are part of a vicious cycle that is hurting the environment.
Landfill sites are heaped with old discarded electronics and ink/toner cartridges, which can leak harmful poisons from the use of plastics.
A single toner cartridge emits approximately 4.8 kg of CO2. This is not taking into the account the greenhouse gas emission from the toner ink which equals 3.2 kg CO2 per cartridge. The amount of ink cartridges dumped into landfill is expanding at an alarming rate, it is estimated that by the end of 2012, 1.8 billion ink cartridges will be dumped into landfill.
It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and switching from traditional fax to internet fax can help them do this, through a reduction in energy consumption, paper demand and harmful greenhouse emissions.
Similarly by taking a more ‘eco-friendly’ approach, businesses will also see financial benefits. By ‘going green’ companies will become more efficient, reduce energy consumption and improve productivity that can ultimately reduce costs.
Written by Aleks Szymanski, CEO, SecureCare Technologies Inc. SecureCare securely digitizes, processes and stores sensitive information to eliminate manual processes and paper. Today it provides a HIPAA-compliant fax service for the healthcare sector, named Sfax.
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