Switching phone systems may not seem like an obvious way to go “green”, but homes and businesses that switch to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone system can save more than just money. Here are some of the many ways that VoIP is good for the environment, too.
1. A Wireless Network Means Less Copper Mining
VoIP phone systems use broadband Internet connections to connect calls. That means that they are able to work without relying on the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN), which stretches telephone wires all over the country. Traditional telephones require a direct electrical connection between two phones to work, and the farther away the phones are, the more wires the call is transferred through. That many phone lines needs a lot of copper mined out of the ground. Phone lines also break or wear out, and repairs use even more copper. By switching to VoIP, homes and businesses start paving the way for an entirely wireless network.
2. No More Phone Lines Means No More Phone Poles
All of those phone wires need poles to suspend from, which are usually made from wood. Switching to wireless networks can help reduce the number of trees that are cut down for such an archaic system.
3. Fax-to-Email Conversions Save Wasted Ink and Paper
Fax machines are a major source of wasted paper. Every year, over 46 million fax machines send nearly 17 billion faxes all over the world. If every faxed page were stacked on top of each other, the resulting tower would be about 853 miles tall. This much paper requires around 2 million trees to be chopped down each year.
VoIP allows for IP faxing, which is a direct conversion of fax information into an e-mail. When displayed on a computer screen instead of printed out on paper, many of those trees are saved. Using fewer resources means using less money, too.
4. Video Conferencing Lowers Vehicle Emissions
Business VoIP clients also benefit from convenient video conferencing. Clients and business partners who can meet through video conferences don’t have to actually meet in person, which means less pollution from transportation. Sometimes it simply saves a car trip, but in many cases a video conference can make even a plane flight unnecessary, meaning far lower vehicle emissions.
5. Telecommuting Means Smaller Carbon Footprints
Speaking of video conferences, VoIP lends itself to other aspects of telecommuting, which is becoming notable as a “green” business practice. Employees who work at home have to pay for their own electricity, paper, and supplies. This makes them far more likely to power down unused computers, turn off lights after leaving the room, save paper when printing, and even make their own meals.
6. Less Hardware in Landfills
Since VoIP calls are run through the Internet, they end up requiring far fewer pieces of hardware. Traditional phone lines require dedicated fax machines, answering machines, mainframes, and other pieces of now obsolete equipment. VoIP phones use computers to run all of their services, meaning that the only other tools to make them work are the phones themselves, and a PBX to route calls through (which won’t need to be purchased if companies use a hosted PBX). Less equipment means less hardware that eventually stops working and gets carted off to the landfill.
Of course, there are other reasons to use VoIP, like the many free features that are included with every package as well as a lower phone bill. Knowing that it’s good for the environment adds just a little bit more incentive to switch.