Going green when paying your bills not only helps the environment, it can also greatly simplify your life. According to the Federal Reserve, nearly 50% of the checks written in the U.S. are written by consumers to businesses. 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.
Stuart Williams of CheckFree/Fiserv and a member of the PayItGreen Alliance says that the average American household gets 19 bills and statements per month and makes seven payments with checks each month. If just 20% of U.S. households switched to electronic statements and bill pay, it would save 150 million pounds of paper and avoid producing 3.9 billion pounds of greenhouse gases.
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 accomplish the following 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:
- Preserving 24 square feet of forest from deforestation
- Not consuming 8.8 gallons of gasoline
- Planting two tree seedlings and allowing them to grow for 10 years
- Not driving 169 miles