Article Categories Communications Fax

Can Your Company Go Paperless?

By: Tina L Douglas

When you receive a fax, you print it out. This is how it has always been done, partly because there was never any other way to do it. Analog faxing equipment received data over a phone connection, then interpreted the data as a series of dots, lines, and blank spaces. When this was printed, it would result in a facsimile of the original file. Analog machines were around for many years, and they saved people time by sending files in minutes, not days, like it may have taken with the post office. It was more convenient than using the phone, because some data is easier to understand visually, such as graphs and statistics. It really was the best option for a lot of companies for many years.

More recently, people have become more aware of the problems with landfills, pollution, and cutting down the rainforests. Going "green" is not just the newest trend, it's something that really can have an impact on you and your loved ones, and it can have a large impact. Paper consumption is a larger problem than many people think it is. It's the thing that we throw away most often. Most people receive a lot of junk mail, and usually, it goes from the mailbox directly into the garbage can. People tend to be more aware of throwing away things like plastic or Styrofoam, because the fact that these take much longer to break down has been in the news a lot more. It's true that a Styrofoam cup will stay in a landfill in the same state, without decomposing at all, for a very long time. And it's true that paper is biodegradable. But just because it was made from trees doesn't meant that throwing it away is completely without consequences.

The more paper we use, the more is made. And when more paper needs to be made, more forests are cut down. Trees are important because they take in carbon dioxide from the air and help make oxygen, but they also provide food, homes, and shelter for many types of animals. Plant roots help to keep the soil from eroding. Getting rid of trees can have a very significant impact on the ecosystem. Making paper also uses bleach and other harmful chemicals, which can pollute the air and water. Even if you recycle your paper, it is usually bleached, which can cause even more pollution than if you had just tried to use less paper.

Of course, paper is important for your company. It's hard to do without paper. But if you stop to think about it, you probably use quite a bit more than you need. You can print on both sides, or recycle, but your fax machine probably prints out junk faxes and other things that get thrown away. If you switched to using an online fax service, you could stop making so many hard copies of faxes, and stop printing unwanted documents, which is a step in the right direction.

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