Humans are wasteful creatures. Of all the creatures on Earth, we produce the most waste. Some waste is necessary according to the laws of nature. However, we do not have to waste nearly as much as we do. Fortunately, our efforts to reduce waste are being enhanced by technological achievements.
We do not necessarily need technology to waste less but having technology that enhances waste reduction efforts doesn’t hurt, either. In fact, it can make an enormous difference in some cases. Below are five examples. Each of the described technologies could reduce waste quite a bit if more people utilized them.
1. Using Rechargeable Li-Ion Batteries
Single-use disposable batteries are something we have taken for granted for decades. We have continued to use them despite having access to NiCad and MiMH batteries, mainly because the other technologies don’t work as well. But now, we have rechargeable lithium-ion cells.
Pale Blue Earth is just one example of a USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery brand that offers superior performance over alkaline batteries. If everybody switched, we could keep billions of alkaline batteries out of the waste stream.
2. Switching to Electronic Documents
The computer age was supposed to reduce the volume of paper documents we generate. We haven’t reached our goal yet, but there is nothing stopping us other than an unwillingness to change what we do. Digital technology makes paper documents completely unnecessary. Documents can be generated electronically and transmitted online or by way of electronic storage. We can eliminate nearly all paper documents if we want to.
Switching to electronic documents reduces waste in another way: it eliminates the need for more paper when documents have to be duplicated. Copying a digital document is as easy as tapping a screen or clicking a mouse. We can make as many copies as we want without generating any waste at all.
3. Paying Bills Electronically
Billing by way of paper invoices generates waste. So does paying those bills using paper checks, envelopes, and stamps. We can eliminate all of that waste by paying our bills electronically. It is not hard to do. Nearly every bill can now be paid online through the billing company’s website. And in most cases, advanced payments can be scheduled. We can even have bill payments automatically withdrawn from our bank accounts.
4. Utilizing Video Conferencing
Although there is definitely something to be said for meeting with people face-to-face, there are times when doing so is not necessary. Video conferencing is a suitable substitute that eliminates the waste created by traveling to face-to-face meetings. Sales professionals do not have to hop on planes to fly all over the country. You and I don’t have to travel across town to see the doctor when all we need is a prescription renewal.
Utilizing video conferencing reduces fuel waste. It also reduces wasted time. Instead of spending valuable time traveling to meet someone face-to-face, you make a video connection in seconds. The time saved can be put toward more productive things.
5. Deploying Home Automation
The typical home is a huge source of waste, particularly where energy is concerned. A good way to reduce that waste is to deploy home automation. Today’s home automation saves energy by automating everything from temperature control to light usage. A combination of programming and artificial intelligence makes modern home automation truly impressive.
Technology is making it easier for us to reduce the waste stream. Whether or not we take advantage of that technology is another matter altogether. We should because excessive waste is largely avoidable. Ignoring technology makes continuing our wasteful ways all the more tragic.