When it comes to implementing sustainable computing solutions, most IT departments are now getting down to action items. The biggest drivers right now are energy consumption, and proper disposal of used equipment. To some extent, the solutions to these issues might occur behind the scenes, as firms use technologies such as virtualization to get a lot more oomph out of using less. But others solutions will require so-called "'user input"; you will actually need to participate in the process. Congratulations! You are about to be part of the global warming solution. Here are five things that your IT folks might ask you to do:
Print using soy ink - This product has now become available and is much more eco-friendly than other inks that are based on volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, the drawback is that soy ink doesn't work very well in personal printers; you may be asked to give yours up.
Print Less - Printing costs are 5 percent equipment, 45 percent supplies, and 50 percent labor; reducing printing has a direct effect on all of these. In addition, paper is about 35 percent of our waste stream, so there's a big reduction in waste.
Use your gear longer - at most, only about 12 percent of computers and cell phones are recycled worldwide. We are going to have to bring that number up a little bit.
Change your operating system - As mentioned before, there's a good probability that a switch to Linux will double the lifespan of your machine.
Use an online FAX system - That clunky old machine might be going bye-bye, instead replaced with a online service such as GreenFax or MyFax that sends all incoming faxes to email addresses.
That's it! As we've said, there's a good chance that these might be the first steps. There will probably be many more to come.