In honor of Earth Day — I offer this list of ways that freelancers can (and do) do to help the Earth.
1. No commute! In 2007 the Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impact of Telecommuting and e-Commerce (PDF), conducted by TIAX estimated that telecommuters in the U.S. alone saved 840 million gallons of gas in a year. That CO2 reduction is equal to removing 2 million vehicles from the road every year.
2. Turn off your monitor when you’re not at your desk.
One computer left on 24 hours a day will cost you $115 – 160 in electricity costs a
year and dump 1,500 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.
A tree absorbs between 3-15 lbs of CO2 each year. That means that 100-500 trees
would be needed to offset the yearly emissions of one computer left on all the time! – Tufts Climate Initiative (PDF)
3. So for that matter – turn off the computer at night!
4. Use a laptop. Laptops only use 1/4 of the energy that a desktop does.
5. Get the flat screen already. If you’re still using the now ancient CRT — consider writing off a lovely LCD monitor on your taxes next year. LCD monitors use 1/3 of the energy that a CRT does and your eyes will thank you as well!
6. Invoice electronically. Encourage your clients to accept your invoices electronically and let them know there is no need to print it out on their end to send back to you with the check.
7. Sign contracts digitally. These pesky contracts and proposals that go back and forth are generally quite a few pages. Use .pdf’s and sign them electronically. It’s legal and saves paper.
8. Reduce printing. If you absolutely must print (viewing pdf’s while on a conference call can be just as effective folks!) — use both sides of the paper and eliminate unnecessary images (or make them smaller).
- About 85 million tons of paper and paperboard.
- Each year, more than 2 billion books, 350 million magazines, and 24 billion newspapers are published.
- The average American uses approximately one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products per year. – epa.gov
9. Use an earth friendly signature. Add a line to your email sigs encouraging people not to print out your emails if it’s not absolutely necessary.
10. Recycle — and pass it on! Make sure you’re doing all that you can to reduce, reuse and then recycle. I love the idea of making household recycling efforts part of our kids chores. Kids love helping the Earth and it helps them to learn good habits right from the get go.
Some great Earth Day resources:
- Earth Day 2010 Action Center
- Pick 5 actions for the world
- What’s Your Ecological Footprint?
- What’s Your Transportation Footprint?
- Earth Day Network
Do you have other ideas on how Freelancer’s can save the Earth? Speak your mind!