Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Environment / Sustainability

Why paying electronically is good for the environment

July 23, 2009

Want to go green? Well, here's an easy way to be kind to the environment -- receive and pay your bills electronically. According to the Federal Reserve, nearly 50 percent of the checks written in the United States are written by consumers to businesses.

26 billion bills mailed per year

American businesses mail about 26 billion bills and statements per year, and consumers mail 9 billion payments per year in paper form. All that paper mailing consumes 755 million pounds of paper, 9 million trees, and 512 million gallons of gasoline.

Ave. household = 19 bills ea. mo.

On a household scale, here’s how paying electronically pans out. Stuart Williams of CheckFree/Fiserv and a member of the PayItGreen Alliance says that the average U.S. household receives 19 bills and statements each month, and makes seven payments with checks each month.

If just 20 percent of American households would switch to electronic statements and payments, it would save 150 million pounds of paper and avoid producing 3.9 billion pounds of greenhouse gases.

Break routine and switch to electronic statements

So why aren’t people switching over? Williams says it’s mostly because people are entrenched in their habits. But by breaking away from routine and switching over to electronic statements, the average American household would each year . . .

• Save 6.6 pounds of paper.

• Save .08 trees.

• Prevent 63 gallons of wastewater from entering the environment.

• Save the 4.5 gallons of gasoline needed to transport bills, statements, and payments via mail service.

• Prevent 171 pounds of greenhouse gases from being produced, which is equivalent to:

1) Preserving 24 square feet of forest from deforestation;
2) Not consuming 8.8 gallons of gasoline;
3) Planting two tree seedlings and allowing them to grow for 10 years; and
4) Not driving 169 miles.