It’s Earth Day and thanks to emerging paperless technologies, individuals and business owners alike can bypass many headaches and decrease their environmental footprint at the same time. My personal favorite Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500, helps me clear clutter from my office – and for my clients – and it also saves me money. Just this week, in preparation for the tax deadline, I mailed absolutely nothing to my tax accountant. I simply scanned all my tax documents and saved and shared them electronically in the cloud.
Let me acknowledge, however, there is controversy over the impact of our digital culture on the environment (considering the amount of energy it takes to keep our storage ‘farms’ cool…) However, reducing the amount of paper that is produced each year – or that ends up in the landfill can’t be a bad thing, no matter how you look at it. Here are a few facts about the paper industry, global warming and the environment (Source: Wikipedia)
- Forests store 50% of the world’s terrestrial carbon. (In other words, they are awfully important “carbon sinks” that hold onto pollution that would otherwise lead to global warming.)
- Half the world’s forests have already been cleared or burned, and 80% of what’s left has been seriously degraded.
- 42% of the industrial wood harvest is used to make paper.
- The paper industry is the 4th largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions among United States manufacturing industries, and contributes 9% of the manufacturing sector’s carbon emissions.
- Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste (and one-third of municipal landfill waste).
With that in mind, here are a few quick ways that going paperless is good for your business – and the environment.
- Appeal to Customers: The steady growth of the sustainability movement makes it appealing to both consumers and companies. With paper making up 25% of the landfill waste (STILL!?!), your customers will appreciate your sustainability efforts – no matter what goods or services you offer.
- Increase the Bottom Line: The average worker produces approximately 10,000 sheets of paper per year – consider the overall cost of this paper for a small business.
- Improve Accessibility: Digitizing important documents makes information more available and transparent for employees – and easier to find than in a filing cabinet.
- Boost Security: Critical data can be encrypted, abandoning the inherent risks of keeping sensitive paper documents in the office.
- Streamline Operations: Bypass old-school filing cabinets and easily search and find your documents from personal computers
Even though the sustainability movement has been around for a while now, it is with good reason. There are simple things we can do to minimize our impact on the earth.
Happy Earth Day!
Founder & Chief Organizer, Functional Spaces Organizing