Americans discard 4 million tons of office paper every year. To put that into perspective, that’s enough to build a wall of paper at a height of twelve feet, from New York to California. These shocking statistics are inarguable evidence that we each need to take the initiative to live smarter and greener if we want to play our role in preserving and giving back to our planet.
In the recent years, there’s been a healthy number of products developed specifically to help reduce the amount of waste in the office environment. From software aimed at preventing “waste pages” from being printed to rumors of companies reducing compensation and even firing employees for producing unnecessary office waste, it’s clear that “green” is all the buzz today.
However, one solution remains the front runner among an infinitely expanding marketplace. Sizing up no larger than a pack of old-fashioned, Wrigley’s® chewing gum, the usb flash drive has literally saved forests of trees since its introduction back in the late 90’s. In fact, each month, major usb flash drive manufacturers are producing millions of drives whose ultimate destination inspires increased digital storage and reduced hard copy data.
Traditionally, employees having to take their work home or on travels, most often means they will print out the information (documents, handouts, reports, emails). While the argument can be made that having hard copies is more feasible when on an airplane as battery power for some laptops is not conducive for sourcing the information digitally, true ecological travelers will embrace the reality that where there’s a will there’s a way. In fact, solar power laptop chargers are readily available today, allowing a window seat to become a natural source of laptop power on most any day trip flight. For the must have information, print outs can be made on both sides of the paper to reduce total waste. For the less critical information, a usb flash drive can be used to source anywhere from 32MB up to 32GB of data depending on your threshold for flash drive spending.
The wonderful element to storing your information digitally is that in essence you don’t even need to bring your laptop. With software solutions like Portable Apps allowing anyone to take their desktop “virtually” and “literally” anywhere, all you need is a quality usb flash drive and a computer at your destination with a usb port, which all modern day computers offer.
Additional benefits of usb flash drives can be discovered for those traveling on business for presentation, meeting or proposal purposes. Traditionally, the presenter would have to lug pounds of paperwork to their destination in effort to arrive at the meeting “prepared” for conducting business professionally. The trend, however, is rapidly moving green. In the greener approach, single “summary” sheets can be distributed instead of packets of detailed content. The presentation can be sourced and/or displayed via a laptop. And if you know your audience/clients will be armed with laptops in the meeting, distributing pocket-friendly flash drives, possibly customized with your company logo for an even more professional touch, prior to the meeting will surely convey your dedication to eco-friendly business. After the meeting is over, your audience will have the notes readily available on their own flash drives not to mention extra storage capacity to do with as they please.
With the National Business Travel Association reporting approximately one quarter of businesses sending 3000 plus employees on 10 or more business trips in a year, it’s clear that much attention needs to be given to more ecological, green travel solutions. And while the list of green solutions is skyrocketing, it’s comforting to know that something as simple as a $20-30 item like a usb flash drive can make all the difference in and for the world.