Monday, August 24, 2009

One Small Step

I'm sure by now that everyone has seen some variant on the commercials that tell us to change one small item in our daily lives and we'll change the world. (If you haven't, you can check some out on YouTube here and here. ) I definitely believe that enough people making changes in their lives can have a profound impact on our resource usage. However, given the size of corporations, it makes sense that they can have an even greater immediate impact. Think about it, the building I work in is probably at least 80x larger than my house (with way more than 80x the computers!). I've switched to using a laptop at home, and it uses about 1/10th of the power of my old desktop. If the 3000 employees that work in the same building as me also switch to laptops that's a huge difference in energy consumption! If I raise my A/C by a degree, that has an impact. If my workplace raises the A/C by a degree, that's a much larger impact.

Now, corporations are not generally motivated by warm fuzzy feelings for the environment, with a few exceptions. There has to be a business reason to make changes to standard operating procedures, and it all boils down to money. The more money a business can make (or save), the more likely they are to implement a green change. And even with cost savings, it can take a while to change the status quo. Which is why I was surprised by something that happened while I was away at school. I've been back at work for two weeks now. Before I left, every two weeks a mail cart would come by and place a pay stub in the mail slot of all those 3000 employees. Most people would look at it and either shred it, or take it home to be disposed of later. I mean, who really wants to end up with 20 years worth of pay stubs hanging around? I admit that I was anticipating the pay stub cart when I received something even BETTER. An email pay stub! I'm not sure exactly when they made this change, but I'm happy to know that there is no more paper being used for pay stubs. Unless of course you're one of those people who prints out your emails to file them. If you are...stop now! Save the files on your computer and make regular backups, but stop printing emails!

Them having made this change makes me think I should look into those little flyers some of my bills send me, the ones that say I can receive my bills online and never get mail from them again. After all, if a corporation can go paperless (or more paperless), I ought to be able to make strides in that direction as well!

PS: As of yesterday, I'm 20% done my 1000 empties challenge!

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