Elizabeth Rodgers is the co-founder of Ben's Ranch, a personal and small business technology service company. An award-winning writer and filmmaker, Elizabeth has taken her enthusiasm for narrative to create a voice, face and story for Bens Ranch to address our core client the multi-tasking mom with very little time to spare.

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Three Ways that You Can Save the Planet, Technically Speaking

1. Recycle/Donate old cell phones

Are you tired of selling chocolate/ magazines/ junk to raise money for your kid’s school? Now you can save the planet and have a fresh new way to fundraise. There are organizations that will pay your school/ church/ non-profit for your old cell phones. They will even cover the cost to have your old phones shipped to them and then they send you a check.

Americans use their cell phones on average for 18 months. Then they get new ones. Do you know how many Americans have cell phones? Are you familiar with math? That’s a lotta cell phones.

And if they’re not still in your drawer, then they’ve probably made it to the dump, leaking lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other toxic substances into the water supply. Thanks a lot.

Recycling and raising money for a good cause: It’s easy, it’s good for you and your karma is back on the upswing. Check out the links:

Phoneraiser.com

Wirelessrecycling.com

You can also recycle other electronics and supplies. Click here.

2. Save Energy—Turn off Your Electronics!

First of all, screen savers are a thing of the past. New monitors don’t need screen savers. And did you know that a screen saver uses the same amount of energy as when you your computer is in use?

An easy way to save energy is to turn off your computer/monitor/printer/fax at night or when they’re not in use. (You could plug everything into one power strip that you just turn off—after safely shutting down your computer, of course.) If you don’t want to spend the 2-5 minutes re-booting your computer when you return to it, you could decide to enable a “sleep” or “hibernate” mode while you’re away. It takes less than 30 seconds to awaken your computer from a deep, restful sleep. And instead of having to manually put the computer/monitor to sleep every time you walk away, you could set the preferences on your operating system to put your computer and your monitor to sleep after 20 minutes of inactivity.

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3. Reduce Waste

If you generate documents on your computer that need to be faxed, instead of printing them out, you can fax them straight from your computer. You can also receive them online. There are many software providers that allow you to send and receive faxes. The benefits:

  • Your fax is always on, but you don’t have to hear it;
  • No need for fax machine/2nd line/long distance charges;
  • You can send faxes from anywhere you are on a computer;
  • You’ll always have your documents with you because they are digitized.

A good place to start is eFax.com: that’s what I use and have no issues. But seriously, there are dozens of providers. (Do a Google search on “fax from computer.”) A couple of things to think about when you’re looking for a provider:

  • How many faxes do I send/receive each month?
  • Do I need a high volume provider?
  • How easy is the software to use—this is important!

Many fax solutions providers give you a trial run for a week or so. I would suggest taking them up on their generosity and see if you like it before you have that number printed up and disseminated to your friends or business associates.

One more thing: if you scan a copy of your signature on your scanner, you can save it as a .jpg file and simply paste it where your signature needs to go on the document. That way, you don’t have to print out the document merely to sign it. You can effectively “sign” it online. Be sure to keep this signature document private, as you don’t want anyone else to use it.

If you would like to receive more tips in the Ben’s Ranch monthly E-newsletter, send an e mail to lasso@bensranch.com and put “subscribe” in the subject line.

—Elizabeth

For more information about Ben’s Ranch, go to:
http://www.bensranch.com/
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