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October 29, 2008

How Internet Fax Helps the Environment

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Senior Editor

 

Most businesspeople concerned with the impact of industry on the environment have a passing familiarity with the “waste hierarchy,” encompassing the three “Rs” of Earth-friendly practices: reduce, reuse and recycle. Often, though, the focus ends up being on the last of those three Rs, namely recycling.
 
One reason recycling tends to get more focus is that often it’s conceptually easier to recycle materials than to reduce the amount of material that’s used in the first place. People usually would rather buy various products, use them up, and send the materials to be recycled than consider whether those products are necessary, or if they could be manufactured with fewer or more robust materials (resulting in longer life, and less need to make replacements).
 
Yet, when viewed in a scale of good to bad, “reduce” is ultimately the most favorable option in the waste hierarchy. It’s much less expensive, in terms of environmental impact, to use fewer resources than it is to reuse or recycle what’s already been consumed.
 
The problem is, as ABI Research (News - Alert) pointed out in a recent report, while most people are aware of the things they can do to lessen the environmental impact of business (e.g. save energy, recycle, avoid polluting), “most workers in the industrialized world use computers and computer networks every day, and don’t give a thought to their environmental impact.”
 
It’s not just the energy and material resources that computers and networking equipment require to be manufactured and operated. There are peripheral costs as well. Take faxing, for example. While the dream of a “paperless office” has long been touted, in fact the use of computers has tended to increase the amount of paper used in business. Faxing contributes to this. But, it doesn’t have to.
 
Instead of consuming paper, ink and the materials needed to manufacture fax machines, businesspeople can instead opt to use an Internet fax service like the one offered by Packetel (News - Alert). This type of service allows users to receive faxes as e-mail attachments rather than paper documents. By opting for Internet fax, workers can with relative ease have a significantly positive effect on the environment by reducing consumption.
 
Solutions like Internet fax have a particularly high potential to actually be successful in business because, not only do they lessen environmental impact, they also offer immediate and tangible benefits to workers. It’s a lot more convenient to receive a document by e-mail than by traditional fax; most businesspeople rely heavily on e-mail and find it cumbersome to work outside the e-mail environment.
 
Internet fax not only makes faxing more efficient, it actually enhances the utility of document exchange by, for example, enabling workers to receive faxes on their mobile phones and laptops while traveling or working outside the office. Plus, Internet fax services often are less expensive than traditional faxing (which requires a machine, paper, toner, and a phone line).
 
To learn more about the benefits of online faxing, please visit the Internet Fax channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Packetel.
 

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.


Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Mae Kowalke

 

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