Greener by Mail or Electronically?

Posted on January 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

My coverage of a study (admittedly by a paper-industry group) suggesting that it might actually be “greener” to mail people a printed statement than send them an electronic one, generated a lot of thoughtful comments.
Sparkiemj points out that not only do electronic statements save on paper, but they are ultimately easier to find via search than a stack of printed documents in a box or file cabinet somewhere.
Quikboy and others point out that while a lot of energy does go into the manufacturing and shipping of computer technology, it is used for so many other purposes that it works out less wasteful than printing.
Contrast that, though, with Alan Siflinger’s comment that the post office is already stopping at your house, so the per-piece consumption of energy is actually pretty low.
Many readers concluded that it’s hard to know which process – paper mail or electronic statements, is greener since the comparisons are very hard to make. But most seem to infer that electronic statements are the way to go and, in the end, less wasteful than print.
Doc appreciates all the comments and acknowledges that the answer is not entirely clear. I agree with reader Haschenhosen that it ought to be up to the individual to decide how they want to get their statements. What works for one person may not be the answer for another.

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