Going Green in Cyberspace

The Internet gives us many opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint by using technology to replace not-so-eco-friendly things we do. The Internet not only can help you to streamline your life, but it can reduce clutter and eliminate some of the piles of stuff we are accumulating. Let’s look at a few examples:

Your Mail – The clutter on your desk.

There was a time when we loved to run to the mailbox and see letters and packages. Now we get excited when our email pops up or we hear “You’ve got mail.” Reducing your “snail mail” by using your email contact as often as possible accomplishes a couple things:

- Quicker response time

- No paper accumulation

- Junk mail easily disposed of

Here are two of the easiest ways to reduce your “snail mail” paper clutter and keep it out of the landfill:

1. Paying bills – Are you receiving your bills in the mail? What happens when you open them? Most of us just want to see the amount and we pay the bill online anyway. How about getting your bills delivered to your email inbox? Many utility companies and credit card companies have the option of paperless billing. You will get an email reminder each month that your bill is due and a link to the site to pay your bill. The landfills don’t need your bills to fill them up.

2. Banking online – Sign up for electronic statements. This works best for two reasons. One, you avoid having to shred statements each month; and two, you can store them on your hard drive, USB drive, or back them up online for security reasons. You eliminate the paper clutter and you avoid the dangers of identity theft from someone sifting through your garbage.

Your Pictures – The OTHER clutter on your desk.

Then there’s that other clutter that keeps you awake at night – the pile of pictures you should have sorted, framed, put in albums, or sent out. With the advent of digital cameras there is a new way to view, store, and share your pictures.

It may have taken people a while to catch on to this idea, especially since the first digital cameras left something to be desired when compared to a film camera. However, those days are gone. Digital pictures are brilliant, clear, and perfectly acceptable, even to the most diehard photographer.

Taking a roll of film to be developed often meant receiving pictures you didn’t want. You couldn’t be selective in the printing process. You wasted money and paper to print the ones that didn’t come out. That problem is gone with digital cameras and online print shops.

In addition, sharing pictures has become easier. You can email them directly from your picture folder on your computer, or you can sign up to a number of free photo storing sites that allow you to send your pictures through them. Your pictures are kept safe at these off-site places and you are always offered opportunities (at a price, of course) to create books, cards, and gifts using your pictures. Now you can choose to print individual pictures that you want; not an entire roll of film, saving money and resources.

Computer Tips

Since you are now using your computer more, here are a few tips to keep it running efficiently.

Turn your computer off. When you are done working for the day, shut your computer down. It saves energy and wear and tear on your computer. Some can overheat if they are left on which damages the battery and reduce its life. If you have an automatic back-up, configure the time of back-up for a time when you will have your computer on.

Buy a laptop. Desktop computers with their big towers and large monitors draw more energy than laptops. They aren’t as versatile and take up more space in your home. You may need both, but when you can, choose to use your laptop.

Computers have helped us all do a lot of things more efficiently. Use cyberspace to better handle your paperwork and to stop the flow of paper into your house. You’ll save time, money, and cut down on that pile of wasted resources you have on your desk right now when you choose to use your computer wisely.

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Tags: Banking online, carbon footprint, Eco-Friendly, electronic statements, most diehard photographer, No paper accumulation, paperless billing, pay the bill online, Planet Earth Bag, print individual pictures, printing process, Quicker response time

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