How Small Businesses Can Go Green

Internet Fax Services

Written by Steve Adams for Gaebler Ventures

Researching how small businesses can go green? Internet fax services are a great way to reduce your paper consumption and be more green-friendly.

There are a number of ways you can make your business communications greener while reducing your costs and increasing your efficiency.

A good first step is to retire your office fax machine and make the move to a good web-based fax service.

Let's take a look at why Internet fax services are good for the environment.

Switching From Fax Machines to an Internet Fax Service

Faxing remains a common form of communication in many industries. And most faxes are still sent and received on fax machines -- one of the least-green technologies in any office.

Let's start with the obvious -- paper usage. Every fax that comes into a fax machine requires at least one piece of paper to convey the message. Many take a whole lot more.

Often times outbound faxes are printed specifically for the purpose of sending them on the fax machine as well. If something goes wrong on either end, that much more paper is consumed until the entire fax is transmitted correctly.

Then there's the toner and its packaging. Plus the electricity to keep the machine running 24 x 7, just in case someone on either end wants to send a fax. And when the machine is at the end of its life, there are all the disposal issues you face with any office equipment. It's a concerned citizen's nightmare.

The solution here is to move to an Internet fax service -- a service that allows you to send and receive faxes via your email account or a secure online server. Because the documents are delivered electronically, you can choose which pages (if any) require printing, helping save a few trees.

How many? It's been estimated that if just one percent of all paper faxes sent in America each year were transmitted electronically instead, 73.5 million trees would be saved. If two or more people need the same document it saves even more paper since you can just forward it electronically instead of making paper copies.

An Internet fax service helps you reduce your energy consumption as well, since you send and receive faxes on a PC, laptop or mobile device you're already using for something else instead of a separate machine. And, of course, it eliminates the use of toner and the need to dispose of a separate piece of office equipment when its useful life is over.

An Internet fax service also adds convenience. Unlike a fax machine, which is tied to a specific location, you can send and receive Internet faxes anywhere you can get an Internet connection. So if you're on the road and need to send or receive a fax, you can head to a Wi-Fi hot spot, plug in an Internet access card or use your mobile device.

Less paper, less electricity, less cost, more convenience. Tough to beat a combination like that.

Steve Adams is Vice President of Marketing for Protus, provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communication tools for small-to-medium businesses (SMB) and enterprise organizations.

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