We’re talking about “tree free” billing.
The average American uses about one 100-foot tall Douglas fir tree in paper each year. Paper statements and bills alone generate almost two million tons of carbon dioxide, according to the National Geographic Society. And then there’s water. The U.S. pulp and paper industry is the largest industrial consumer of water.
Turning off paper bills and statements is a small change with a big environmental impact. If U.S. households switched to electronic bills, statements, and payments, these are the estimated annual impacts:
- 16.5 million trees saved
- 1.6 billion pounds of solid waste eliminated
- 3.9 billion pounds of toxic air pollutants eliminated
- 63 gallons of waste water per person eliminated
The personal benefits are immediate. You significantly reduce the risk of identity theft by turning off paper documents. The FTC reports that most fraud comes from stolen paper documents and is not internet based. In fact, mailbox thieves are the top culprit for identity theft. You’ll also save time. Direct depositing paychecks gives you fast access to your money. Receiving and paying bills online each month reduces this chore from hours to minutes.
Security is still important. Keep your computer virus software up-to-date. Send payments instead of allowing the payee to withdraw funds from your account. Don’t allow your computer to automatically save passwords. And never log on to your account on a public wireless connection.
Your efforts can preserve up to 24 square feet of forest land each year. When faced with the choice between a tree-free planet and tree-free document, the choice seems simple.
SESLOC makes it easy to go “tree free” with Online Banking and Bill Pay. To check your statement settings or to access your electronic statements, log into Online Banking,select Statements from the menu, and select your account number. You can view the monthly statements under Documents, or opt in by clicking Enrollment. Bill Pay is a secure and convenient service that enables you to receive, view, and pay your bills from one centralized place. Enroll today, and save a tree.