Besides the whole “green” aspect of opting out of printing or using paper, there are several other advantages that non-treehuggers can take advantage of. For instance, I have yet to find a way to use my hands to grep for what I’m looking for in the physical world, while I can type in a word or phrase and click search using a digital magazine or downloaded ebill.
Another advantage I’ve realized while switching to using ebills and mostly digital content is uncluttered space. My wife and I have purchased one CD (latest Eagle CD that at first only came out in Walmart stores) in the past few years so the space required for an expanding CD collection has not continued to grow… thank goodness! We already have one and a half wall units dedicated/wasted to CDs.
You can try out the iTunes service for free using the free song of the week or if you prefer to go DRM-free, check out Amazon’s MP3 store. I’ve been an iTunes user for several years and my wife and I love the simple-to-use interface, but I just tested Amazon’s MP3 store with a $5 “coupon” I received for doing some Christmas shopping on Amazon, and I was impressed with the easy downloader. Our next step is to move to digital video, but we haven’t picked the technology to use.
We’re also moving to moving all of our bills to e-bills. While some smaller vendors simply don’t offer e-bills and send a paper bill, most larger companies will happily move to an e-bill as it saves paper and stamp costs as well as some labor. To save these costs vendors are even offering discounts for moving to e-bills. In some cases, vendors offer a $5 a month saving which equals $60 a year. As if the $60 savings per year is not enough, maintaining the paper records in various file cabinets instead of storing folders on your computer should be extra incentive.
With USB sticks up to 16GB now (for less than $30!), you can easily carry a year of all your bills on a stick for access anywhere which brings up another benefit… portability! Have you ever gone to work planning to fight a bill to realize you forgot to bring the bill with you?
Besides being “cool” and “going green”, there are practical reasons with tangible benefits of moving towards the digital content era including the ability to perform quick searches across material, cutting down on physical clutter, saving actual money and portability. I bet you could sit down and think of a few additional benefits of going paperless.
By the way, please bookmark this page and don’t print! 🙂