The romance of holding a newspaper in your hands is hard to deny. With its inky reassurance of solidity and notable absence of confusing drop-down tabs, it seduces readers into its pages. You may never give up your habit of picking up the morning paper and heading to your favourite cafe, but maybe there is room for other virtual forms of your favourite indulgences.
Going digital isn’t always a possibility, but in many cases it can result in less resource waste, more time saved and extra cash in your pocket. Think of how switching over to email from handwritten letters accomplished all three, with less paper waste, instant delivery and postage saved.
Some may say there have been losses in the trade-off to going digital, and they would be right. But it can’t really be argued that the planet wins out when we opt for a physical copy of every receipt, bill, ferry schedule, CD, or bank statement.
It’s easy to poke fun at our obsession with smartphones and iPads, though they are compelling for most of us. With so many functions stacked into one little supercomputer at the tip of our fingers, it’s a rare bird that doesn’t have one (or more). Maybe you can make yours work harder for you, while lightening your load on other resources. Here are some ways to go virtual:
1. Choose paperless billing and banking. Learn how to access accounts online and print only what you need for long-term records.
2. Consider digital forms of books. You can now borrow audio and digital books from libraries for free. The Libby app is a great one to get you started. You can also invest in services that sell audio and digital versions of most well-known reads, including the classics.
3. Replace broken tools with virtual ones, where it makes sense. Online guitar tuners, GPS, trackers, calendars.
4. Save files on free versions of online storage, like Google Drive, or Dropbox, instead of printing mountains of papers you may lose track of. Keep digital backups of important documents.
5. Get event tickets emailed to you rather than waiting for ages in line at will call to pick up paper copies.
6. If you haven’t already joined the world of entertainment when it comes to movies and music, you are a unique specimen. If you’re out of the loop, ask anyone under 30 to walk you through the best apps for unlimited access.
7. Get your news online, and free yourself and the planet from a mountain of junk mail inserts.
Switching to the virtual world has its drawbacks. Choose where you can lighten your load, which will lighten your footprint.
Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program.