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50th Earth Day: Pandemic a wake-up call to rethink how we live and treat our planet?

By Julian Lee

This pandemic is a continuous downpour of sad news. We are in the middle of the storm and the end is still uncertain. It’s enough to make anyone feel discouraged. Eventually, this pandemic will be over and the pain will fade as life gets back to normal. Then what?

“We are all witnessing nature’s bigger destructive forces in real-time. Hurricanes and tsunamis seem like just appetizers!

Will this experience really change people and their habits moving forward? Will businesses change their behaviors? Will everything eventually simply revert back to the same-old?

Already, we are seeing the importance of local manufacturing for health care products. Some deeper rethinking of mindless globalization is happening. People are recognizing and respecting the true value of “front-line” workers. We are understanding the importance of the IT Channel as essential services. Many things that were not previously on the radars of people are now popping up!

Here are a couple more things that I have been thinking about during this lock down and Earth Day.

  1. This is probably not going to be the last pandemic that we will experience so we should be way better prepared and on the careful watch for earlier detection to stop the next one before it blows up. I really never considered that our Governments were so unprepared (even Canada with its past experience with SARS).
  2. What if we had to deal with a bigger global disaster due to a sudden tipping-point in the climate where there is no short-term cure? Look at the dramatic measures that Governments are taking just to contain and flatten the spread of this one virus. Look at the instant impact to human life and the economy. Unimaginable just a few weeks ago! Maybe this pandemic is a small taste of what we could be facing with an irreversible global climate crisis.

There is one positive story coming out from COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Pollution is down! Cruise ships are docked. Airplanes are grounded. Factories are closed. Cars are parked. Less oil and gas being used. Satellite images over China shows pollution has dissipated. Apparently, you can now see fish in the canals of Venice, Italy.

What a way to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

This shutdown seems to support the claim that if we actually give the planet some time to recover, it could.

Maybe this pandemic is one giant wake-up call on the global environmental impact due to human behavior.

Many people were forced to change their habits overnight by working virtually from home. Many are now realizing that they can actually get a lot more work done virtually (and less costly) instead of physically meeting. This has had an instant impact on the planet and people. Less travel. Less pollution. Less road accidents. More time to spend with family.

People were forced to embrace a major change in their behaviors and there has been some good side effects.

Starting the day after this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, what if we we do some little things in the technology sector to help the environment (and save money)?

With the massive migration from the office to work from home, most employees are instantly cut off from access to their office printer. Maybe they already have a printer at home. If not, then they will need to either bring a printer from work or buy another. In some countries, you actually need to print and carry a document with you to move around!

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ECO Products Solution is one local re-manufacturer of high quality ink and toner cartridges. If you already have a printer, then just order replacement recycled supplies online. You can also send back your empties to them for recycling. Not printing is best for the environment, but using re-manufactured ink and toner is the next best thing. Everyone can easily do this one little change to reduce impact on the planet and save money at the same time! Think about the hundreds of thousands of cartridges currently being bought to print from home. Look at the chart above to get a feel for how new compares to recycled print cartridges.

I do not know the latest facts, but it looks like 60% to 80% of new printer cartridges end up getting dumped in landfills (Google and you will find more data). Why most consumers just continue to buy new could be a result of powerful marketing by OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) as well as the legitimate downsides of shady suppliers who “refill” cartridges or produce inferior products offshore. Some toner have been found to emit unacceptable levels of benzene, cobalt and naphthalene (all hazardous to humans). As such, it is important that you buy the right recycled ink or toner product like those re-manufactured by ethical companies like ECO Products Solutions.

Avoid buying a brand new printer, but if you definitely need one delivered to your home, the same company can safely drop ship a refurbished (or brand new printer) with a few extra cartridges. The bundle price is always much better because of the lower cost for replacement ink and toner. Remember that the bulk of your cost is always in the ink and toner.

As if that was not enough, the very same supplier also offers replacement parts to keep your old printer running longer. It seems that they have thought-through the end-to-end printing life cycle (including their packaging). And, they deliver to your door!

The same company is offering Channel Partners to resell a Managed Print Service which makes everything much more efficient with sustainable monthly recurring revenue!

All added up, just making this one simple change in printing habits will be a good thing for the environment and your wallet!

Using recycled laptops is also another opportunity to do more good for the environment and save money (especially now when channel partners are having trouble finding supply). It may not be the right choice in certain circumstances but it is always a much more economical alternative to buying new.

Hooking up with a good recycle company will also help end-of-life products to be better disposed instead of just being dumped in landfills. Some recycle companies will actually buy your e-waste. Ask us about how every channel partner can host a “My Green IT Day” (something that we started over a decade ago) to help the environment and build customer loyalty.

Please take another look at using quality recycled products and solutions when possible. Maybe this amazing drop in air pollution will set the example for us to do more to keep it going in the right direction!

We can all make one more small change that can help save the planet and money. Make the 50th Earth Day really count!

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