While fax machines aren’t as popular as they once were, some people and organizations still use them –in spite of the availability of better alternatives like online fax systems. Unfortunately, its impact on the environment while indirect, has been and still is pretty significant. Here’s just a few of them.
Fax machines use paper –lots of it. Paper is made from trees, so this has contributed to massive deforestation. Trees play a vital role in the ecosystem and biomass. Beyond being a great source of vegetation, it works for ameliorating global warming. A government research sourced by GreenFax.com, showed that fax machines consume over 200 billion pages of paper each year in the United States alone. Much of the paper made is most likely from the wanton felling and perhaps plundering of millions of trees every year.
Most fax machines have a characteristic clacking noise even when used properly. This commonly occurs when the machine is sending out faxes and copying sheets of paper. While this noise may not be much, the consistent humming and clacking can actually impact workers’ productivity negatively, thus, making it unhealthy for the environment.
Most fax machines have to stay on, even when they aren’t actively being used because a fax could come in at any time. This often translates into unnecessary power consumption. With increased power consumption, comes increased carbon dioxide production, which contributes to the dreaded global warming. According to the President of Renewable Energy Advocate Le Boise Alternatives, DJ McIntyre, “If you run a fax machine 24/7, you create 80kg gas per year in your area. That’s a lot…” (for the environment.)
Fax Machines Chew Up Power
Fax machines consume a lot of power to work efficiently. As a communication device, it consistently needs power to perform efficiently. In the office, 14 percent of the energy consumed is used by fax machines, computers and their accessories. As it is, fax machines also require alternative power sources to stay on, just in case there’s a power outage. Generators, when used as an alternative power source, can be a source of environmental pollution, noise pollution and carbon emission.
Indoor Air Quality
There is the concern of the quality of the air where the fax machines are being used. An environment pervaded with somewhat toxic substances could be inimical to the human health in the long or short term. Fax machines use volatile organic compounds in their ink which evaporates and potentially contributes to poor indoor air quality. In offices, workplaces and homes that do not have great ventilation and air circulation system, this could potentially result in a health hazard.
The Problem of Recycling
In an ideal world, fax machines would be recycled after expiration. Unfortunately, this practice would appear cumbersome for manufacturers and users perhaps due to the financial gains involved. Some of these fax machines are donated and reused. But a good number of them are either dumped in landfills or shipped to poor countries which do not have the facilities to manage such toxic wastes.
What this simply points to is that the traditional fax machine, asides its negative impact on the environment, is no longer effective for the needs of the contemporary business world. A more advanced and useful alternative is the use of internet faxing. Online faxing is simply the use of an internet connection to send and receive faxes. This method reduces cost, preserves our trees, avert the dangers that comes with carbon emission and global warming, as well as guarantees maximum security of documents. With just one click, transactions are made, messages are sent and received and time is saved. With the fast-paced and speedy growth of information communication and technology, getting an online fax system is your best bet in ensuring quality business communications.
Oscar King, the author, is a small business owner and blogger. Part of Oscar’s blog is dedicated to finding the most environmentally friendly products and services for his business. In order to be more environmentally-friendly, Oscar uses online faxing services on FindAFax.com. To see some more of Oscar’s recommendations, connect with him via Google+.