With ink costing $10,000 a gallon, consider electronic media monitoring

May 13, 2010 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

From going green to going broke, the arguments for transitioning from paper to electronic media monitoring are numerous. Many are aware of the high cost of paper-based systems, from the impact on tree-cutting and associated industries (e.g., transportation costs, pollution, and processing) to the hard costs associated with printed documents.

Putting an exclamation point on the financial impact of paper-based solutions, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in a report on its innovative ink-saving measures, estimated that printer ink costs about $10,000 per gallon (Source: ABC News Technology, 3.26.10, http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/techbytes-netflix-wii/story?id=10208224). Somebody’s footing the bill for that, likely the end-user.

In a report released January 2008 by the Environmental Paper Network (http://www.environmentalpaper.org/documents/paperefficiencyfactsheet.pdf), the view of hard costs is expanded: “Lower paper volumes benefit your bottom line directly by reducing your purchase costs. They also have indirect cost benefits that can be 10 times the cost of the paper alone. These include reducing the costs of technology like photocopy toner and printer ink, paying for less storage space and filing equipment, slashing postage costs and saving time.”

The report continues, “Paper production causes a wide range of environmental impacts, so by using less of it you can press many environmental buttons at once: you can reduce your pressure on forests, cut energy use and climate change emissions, limit water, air and other pollution and produce less waste…The climate benefits of reducing paper consumption are significant. If, for example, the USA cut its office paper use by roughly 10 percent, or 490,000 metric tons, greenhouse gas emissions would fall by 1.45 million metric tons. This is the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for a year.”

In an April 22 SmartPlanet.com article, (http://www.smartplanet.com/search/?q=Joe+McKendrick), writer Joe McKendrick states, “E-business may dramatically cut paper waste.” He goes on to say that INTTRA, an e-commerce platform for the ocean freight industry, has identified savings in going the e-commerce route. Among cited statistics: INTTRA claims that freighter providers using its e-commerce network annually save potentially 25,000 trees. The INTTRA platform that handles transactions potentially saves more than 222 million sheets of paper annually. The organization even has a calculator to show savings from paper to electronic commerce: http://www.inttra.com/home/Pages/Go_Green_With_INTTRA.aspx

McKendrick also references a study conducted by Joseph Fuhr and Stephen Pociask in 2007, who looked at the environmental impact of broadband adoption. He notes, “The greatest potential for greenhouse gas reductions, the authors say, appears to be in e-commerce (206 million tons), telecommuting (over a half a billion tons), teleconferencing (200 million tons) and paper reduction (57 million by reductions in newspaper circulation alone). If all of the greenhouse reductions noted in this study were converted into energy saved, Fuhr and Pociask forecast that IT applications could save 555 million barrels of oil by year 10, or roughly 11% of the oil imported into the US today.”

When adding up all the savings benefits of going electronic—from hard costs to environmental conservation—it’s easy to see why cutting paper use and going electronic just makes good sense.

Entry filed under: media monitoring. Tags: , , , , .

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