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The World is Going Paperless… Are You Riding the Wave?
Thursday, 01 October 2009 00:00

It’s hard to deny that the world is going electronic. The environmental opportunity created by this surge is already staggering.

One major Financial Institution with over 10 million clients has already strategically decided that by 2012, they will NOT send out a single piece of paper to clients if they can avoid it.  Part of it is a GREEN initiative, another is surely the $50 plus annually spent all-in to send a monthly statement to a client.

Some startling statistics

  • If every North American with a home PC (250 million) received and filed the Bills and Statements that are already available electronically from their Banks and Utilities, each would save an average of 700-900 pieces of paper and 200 envelopes per year. That’s 275 Billion pieces of paper!
  • If every Tax Payer chose to Save their return as a PDF and e-file with the government, that would save another 5 Billion sheets of paper
  • If every e-bay shopper saved their purchase receipt electronically instead of printing it, that’s over 1 Billion sheets of paper!
  • If all 26 million weekly online shopper in North America chose to save their purchase receipt electronically instead of printing it, that would save another 1.35 Billion sheets of paper!

According to the 2002 Forest Leadership Forum, that’s a startling 280 Billion sheets of paper annually which equals 34 million trees saved! (the average pine tree yields approximately 8333 sheets of standard photocopy paper)

Plus, each Ton of Copy Paper produced uses:

  • 24 Trees
  • 7000 Gallons water
  • 4100 KW hrs electricity

and creates:

  • 60 lbs air pollution

Our example would also save:

  • 9.9 Billion Gallons of fresh water
  • 5.8 billion KW hrs of electricity
  • 85 million lbs of air pollution

So… how do we embrace this change instead of being frustrated by it? How do we increase our security?

By taking these 6 Simple Steps both in your own lives and Businesses

1. Commit to a New Paper Reduction & Handling Process

  • Go online and switch Bills, Receipts and Statements from paper to electronic delivery. When paper does arrive, replace the time you spend “staging it physically” or filing it, with scanning and shredding it.

2. Get a Good Scanner

  • Scanning isn’t just for photos anymore.There are amazing, affordable duplex (2-sided) scanners out there that cost in the $300- $500 and scan up to 50 page, 2 sided document in seconds.  The Best of the Bunch is the Kodak  Scanmate i1120 Scanner bundled with Business Card Scanning and intuitive bundled software. With the smart touch feature, you can easily preprogram up to nine scanning functions, along with the file formats you need them in (PDF, TIFF, JPEG, RTF, BMP, and searchable PDF).

3. Get a Good Shredder

  • Don’t be fooled into buying the cheapest product on the market.  Motors and cutters tend to give out on those bargain units regularly (within a year). For less than $200 you can find a heavier duty shredder that shreds paper clips, staples, even credit cards & CD’s and comes with a minimum 2 year machine warranty and 5 year cutter warranty.

4. Establish or Get a Good Organized Filing System on your computer

  • Setup of necessary files under MY Documents and your email Inbox is invaluable.  There are also some very good time saving software programs that pre-build the folders you need or allow you to quickly build and index/search in the future. If you want a simple and easy to use solution, get the Nuance Paperport, it’s simple, thorough, and saves you hundreds of hours of setup time by installing all the pre-built folders you need in life..

5. Backup, Backup, Backup

  • Consider a safe, secure, online backup solution.  For less than $50-100 per year per computer, you can employ a solution that automatically backs up all of your documents and your email when you’re online, without you having to do a thing.

6. Enjoy the Security and Peace of Mind

Once you have these basics in place, you’ll start to reap the benefits that come with going green…going paperless.  So, sit back and enjoy the peace of mind related to:

  • the knowledge that much fewer confidential documents are lying around your office or home for the taking by would-be identity thieves
  • the disappearance of stressful mounds of paper
  • saving time in retrieving and distributing electronic documents vs. paper
  • saving space in your offices and homes
  • the knowledge that even in the case of loss of a computer, laptop, a fire, a robbery…all important data can be retrieved
  • the ultimate pride and satisfaction in having a major impact, individually and collectively through your client base on the future of our environment.

It’s a winning way of doing business… a winning way of life

 

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