Everyone likes to talk about “going green” these days. And there are plenty of good reasons for doing so. More importantly, it is the right thing to do for Mother Earth.
And there are many ways in which volunteers can interfere. A positive (if tiny) impact on the environment is part of the appeal. Moreover, adopting green practices can increase your efficiency and save you a little money. What is not to love?
Freelance web designers are also able to make such changes. As many of us are individual entrepreneurs, we can begin to enact these practices immediately. There is no need for it to be passed by the “Boss.”
With that in mind, here are some things you can do to become a greener volunteer. It may be easier than you think!
Adhere to Virtual Meetings
One of the side effects of the global pandemic was the massive shift towards virtual convergence. Clients who used to demand face – to – face meetings are now as comfortable as Zoom conferencing.
As things gradually opened up, this is one habit that should be adhered to. It doesn’t matter if you normally travel by car or public transport, there is a chance to save emissions by setting up your webcam.
And, for busy designers, the whole act of going to a meeting is a huge drain in time. When you consider the preparation and travel, a simple confab can hour up a large part of your day. It is very ineffective.
There may be situations where physical presence is required. Otherwise, you can also take advantage of the technology.
Turn Off Unused Equipment
Both web and graphic design can be complemented with energy-intensive tasks. You need a powerful computer, as well as various peripherals to do your job efficiently. Together, these items can use a significant amount of electricity.
Many of us tend to leave this high – end equipment powered on – even when not in use. This results in wasted resources and costs you money.
Fortunately, the solution to this one is easy: turn off your equipment when not in use. Computers can be placed in a “sleeping” state, where they have little power. Or you could shut them down completely.
In the meantime, hardware like printers need only be running while actively using them. Even if the savings are relatively small, it adds up over time.
Turning off hardware is not just about your vacation hours. It also applies to times when you are at work. For example, turning off a monitor during pauses and adjusting its brightness settings is worthwhile.
Recycling Old Electronics
It’s unfortunate that there are so many high – tech gadgets that they get obsolete – and fast. That fancy phone you couldn’t wait to buy? What about that “state of the art” laptop? Well, they are not so shiny these days.
If you are anything like this web designer, you probably have some of these items sitting in your closet. While not necessarily hurting anything, they are taking up valuable space. And, because they often contain materials that are toxic to the environment, it is not safe to throw them in the trash.
Recycling is a much better option. However, it is not always a simple task. Not all geographical areas have a recycling program. And there are some recyclers who are not very transparent about their process – which means that your old devices can still harm the environment.
So, you will want to do some research beforehand. Look for a service that will build and recycle your old electronics in an environmentally friendly way.
Minimizing Paper Use
Over the years, the term “paperless” has come a long way. But how realistic is it?
We are still surrounded by paper. Postal mail arrives at our homes and offices. Stores continue to sell books, sketches, and all kinds of paper products. It’s not leaving anytime soon.
However, there is a great opportunity to minimize our usage. Electronic invoicing for clients is a great alternative to posting hard copies (and saves you some postage). While some old-fashioned clients may prefer paper, the majority should be perfectly billed by email.
Most of the vendors you work with probably also offer electronic billing. And with cheap and plentiful digital storage, computerizing your receipt archives is a logical choice. Storing a pile of paper, on the other hand, is a pain.
Printers are still an office necessity, but it’s worth thinking twice before using them. If you need a hard copy of a document, that’s OK. Otherwise, you could also be served by keeping it digital.
Easy Ways Designers Can Help the Planet
The ideas above share some common threads. First of all, they are extremely easy to implement. None of them require a huge effort. And they are also small steps towards reducing waste.
There are plenty of opportunities for further action – large and small. We will leave those options up to you. However, positioning your business to be as green as possible is a great start.