Is Going Paperless Worth It?

To some, there’s something comforting about physically receiving a bill or correspondence on paper. Whereas receiving it online, still seems somewhat risky. But is going paperless worth it?

But did you every consider how going paperless might simplify your life while at the same time reduce your carbon footprint?

Producing and transporting all that paper is an energy-intensive endeavor. Paperless may seem more vulnerable to a security breach by a third party, or subject to frustrating “technical difficulties” when its inaccessible through the internet – but those issues are becoming more rare every day.

There are a lot of reasons why people don’t want to more fully move towards paperless, but when they realize the environmental Paperlessand economic benefit of paperless, the scale tips in favor of going paperless. Paper documents require physical organization; are subject to being lost or falling into the wrong hands; and eventually have to be properly disposed of, if you’re worried about that possibility.

Paperless is Ubiquitous: These days, every bank, credit card, online retail store, hotel, airline and utility have well proven paperless systems. Your entire history of transaction and statement over the last year or so are instantaneously available online.

Why Bother With Store Receipts? Many stores now accept returns without the receipt and transaction totals are highly accurate and gas pumps and ATM give you the option to go paperless.   More grocery and drug stores should move in this direction. Studies have found that online banking is actually safer because people realize their account or identity has been compromised sooner than when they rely on paper correspondence. The issue can be caught and addressed early. To understand the environmental impact of your individual paper consumption impact here’s a useful guideline.

The Paper Impact: One ton of everyday white, un-recycled paper uses 4 tons of virgin wood chips, creates the equivalent of  2 tons of carbon emissions, consumes 22,000 gallons of water, and puts a little under a ton of waste into our landfills. If you’re still receiving your bills in paper, you probably consume a ton of this type of paper other year or so – this does not include your newsletter, magazine, and food consumable paper waste.  See the Green Blizzard article about the carbon break-even of ebooks.

There are companies like AVOLENT in California that help companies make the transition to going paperless. They estimate that every year their efforts save 1,000,000 trees a year, 100 millions pounds of waste, 1 billion gallons of water, and prevents 300,000,000 pounds of greenhouse emissions. Make A Change: Make a resolution to methodically go fully paperless over the next 12 months.   It will take a little invested time changing the business arrangement, but you’ll be glad you did and spend less time organizing your paper files and reduce your carbon footprint. Visit Green Blizzard Store for green reading recommendations and check out this other articles:


    About the author

    John R. Garnet

    John's work in the energy market fostered his interest in the environment. He recently completed his graduate work at George Mason University, But more interestingly, John has a passion for food and cooking and to provides some light-hearted tips to make people's lives greener while enjoy the good life with everyday practical tips from brewing tea, growing basil, or drinking raw milk.