Utility companies, governments, banks – every agency that sends us bills or statements keeps telling us to make it easier for ourselves, save trees, go green, go paperless. Make it easier for whom, save what trees?
I’m going to want a paper copy of those statements anyway. So I’m going to have to print them. So it will be paper I buy instead of paper bought by the sender. Same number of trees die.
It would save those companies and agencies the costs of postage. Yes it would. And if I were promised that those savings would be passed along to consumers in the form of lower rates or rebate, I might do it. I need something to compensate me for the time I would have to spend opening the emails and printing them before I stick them in my file.
I also would need a guarantee that the useless, unwanted, paper-wasting promotions and special offers that I receive in the mail from those selfsame companies and agencies would also stop.
These photographs are of the unsolicited, unwanted, tree- and time-consuming junk that came in my mail and in my newspaper on one day. A letter from Bell telling me about their wonderful internet provider offer. I’ve received hundreds of these in the past couple years – all requiring postage, all contributing to the death of a tree. Each one of these missives requires me to open it, remove the plastic window from the envelope, tear off the parts with my name to be put in the shredder and the rest to be put in the recycling bin. Then, before recycling day, I have to bundle up all this unwanted crap in a tidy way and put it out at the curb. So that big polluting trucks can pick it up and take to a recycling facility to do whatever it is they actually do with McDonald’s coupons and pizza offers and letters from Bell Canada.
Notice the magazine in the photo above. It’s Glow, a beauty magazine from Shopper’s Drug Mart. I don’t want it, I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t subscribe. I get it free because I have an Optimum card. The card gives me a benefit – points that get me free stuff. The first time I got the magazine – a “gift issue” – I thought, ok, they’re just fishing for subscribers. I won’t get another one. Next month, there it is. Take the hint: if I wanted it, I’d subscribe. I signed up for a points card, not a magazine.
If I wanted new products or services from Bell or Rogers or my bank, I would contact them. I’m already a customer! If Bell, Rogers or my bank wants to save their time and money by not sending me the one piece of paper that I actually need from them – my monthly statement – they can also stop cluttering up my mail box and life with junk I don’t want. And I don’t want junk emails from them either. I can get rid of emails faster than I can the pieces of paper, but I don’t want to clutter up my inbox or mind with junk.
If companies and agencies are concerned about saving trees, condense your statements so that a standard one fits on one sheet of paper. Bell is bad for this; the layout unnecessarily uses 2 double-sided sheets. And quit sending junk. That would really save trees.