Companies looking for new ways to "go green" might consider implementing the use of the virtual fax, also sometimes called Internet fax. The energy, paper, toner and hardware savings alone make the switch to Internet fax a win-win for environmentally-conscious businesses.
One disadvantage of a fax machine is duplication of paper. A paper is put through a machine that connects to another machine that produces an identical piece of paper. The virtual fax works through an Internet connection via email or the web. Smart phones can also be utilized to send and receive virtual faxes. No paper is produced at the beginning or end of the operation. The receiver can simply view the page on a computer screen, forward the fax to email. If an actual piece of paper is needed for any reason - signatures, etc. - the receiver can easily print the fax on their end. This eliminates the paper duplication in traditional faxing; and of course, saving paper means saving trees.
The virtual fax has already made the fax machine somewhat of an artifact in the workplace. Toner for older machines is often difficult to find. The cost of the toner alone can save companies hundreds of dollars over the course of a few years. By eliminating the fax machine and moving to a virtual fax alternative, companies also eliminate the need to dispose of the cartridges associated with the toner. The landfills are already full of cartridges that will never decompose, thus, eliminating fax toner cartridges helps reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfills.
As companies seek to improve their bottom line, it is hard to justify the expense of replacing an older model fax machine for a newer one, especially when the equipment they already own - a computer - can easily serve as a virtual fax. Toner and supplies are easier to find for newer fax models, but that may not make a new machine a viable option. Companies looking to dispose of their old fax machines can take advantage of greener solutions like e-cycling (electronic waste disposal) for disposal and again, help reduce landfill waste. This process keeps not only the components that will not decompose out of the landfills, but also keeps any hazardous material from leeching into the ground and jeopardizing the water supply.
Companies may also see a drop in their energy bills by switching to a virtual fax service. The energy savings realized by faxing over the Internet will add up, like the paper savings, over the course of a few years. Any and all energy savings are good for the planet, even if they don't save money for one particular company or business.
The virtual fax will not save the planet by itself, but it will make a difference. Companies can benefit from that difference, both in their bottom line and in the way they are perceived in the community. As the population grows more green-savvy, companies that embrace a green outlook will find that they may be judged by the ways they are helping to save the planet. Embracing the virtual fax is one step toward achieving that green goal.