Green tip for week #13 — Week of July 27, 2008

Reduce your dependence on printed emails and printed faxes

Remember hearing people speculate five to ten years ago about having a “paperless society”? Despite the many advances in electronic and internet communication media, we clearly have not gone paperless. Particularly in a business or corporate environment, the number of printed emails, printed faxes, and printed memos is astounding. One way to reduce our carbon footprint and decrease the environmental impact we have through our daily routine is to reduce our paper use and consumption.

Although there are many ways to reduce paper use and consumption, this week’s green idea from will focus on faxing and email. In a bygone time, faxes were the only efficient and high-speed mechanism for delivering a document or written confirmation in a business transaction or personal communication. Now, many routine faxes have been replaced by email. That has helped reduce paper consumption, but only if people read and save or archive their email. As soon as that email gets printed, it may as well have come by fax (in terms of paper consumption). The first way to reduce your environmental impact with an easy change is to stop printing routine email, and only print those emails which are absolutely vital to have in paper format.

Next, consider using an internet-based fax service, such as one of the offerings from,, or the many other available internet fax services. These services offer some convenience and practical benefits, like allowing you to access your faxes from your home computer, laptop computer, mobile device (like a Blackberry, iphone, etc.) or any public computer with an internet connection. This means you don’t have to be at the office to know if you got a fax. The more important issue in terms of environmental impact is that if you get your faxes through your email or through an internet fax service, you are not using the paper and toner consumed in the fax machine.

By using technology and electronic communication effectively, you can not only make your business and personal correspondence more streamlined, but you can reduce your environmental impact and make a significant step toward environmental responsibility and sustainability by reducing the amount of paper consumption and paper waste that printed emails and printed faxes cause. Remember that taking small steps today can lead to substantial benefits to the environment tomorrow!

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