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Your snail mail has a big, fat (and unnecessary) carbon footprint. (following up on our Monday piece about cutting the junk mail)

by Randy Dean, VP, Consumer Media, Zumbox

The U.S. mail that comes to your home has a carbon footprint that may surprise you. And every day, the environmental damage your mail is doing is multiplied 145 million times around the country.

Every year, mail is delivered to 145 million homes and businesses six days a week. Mail trucks travel 1.25 billion miles and guzzle 400 million gallons of fuel. About one-third of the mail delivered every year – 55 billion pieces – ends up in landfills.

Now, consider the costs associated with producing just one ton of paper: 17 trees; 60 gallons of air pollution; 79 gallons of oil; 7,000 gallons of water; and 41,000 kilowatts of energy. Now, multiply that by 14.7 million tons (which is the weight of mail delivered annually). The negative environmental impact is crystal clear… just like the air, our rivers, lakes and streams might be if it wasn’t for this kind of tremendous and unnecessary waste.

It’s time for a digital alternative

Given the broad consumer access to the Internet, a digital solution is the obvious choice. Email, however, is fraught with security issues and therefore does not present a viable solution. Enter Zumbox, a free service that allows your postal mail to be delivered online and connects you to the companies that send you important household mail. It’s also a place to store all your mail in one secure place online.

No doubt you’re asking yourself: how does it work?

The mail you receive through Zumbox originates the same way most of your snail mail does – on a computer terminal screen at a corporation, non-profit organization or even government agency that is billing you or sending you other important information.
But instead of the sender then generating a paper version to dispatch via U.S. mail, the digital file is sent instantly and securely to your digital mailbox. You’ll receive a notification via email or SMS that your mail has arrived. You then simply go to your Zumbox to view your mail the same way you’d see it on paper. When you’re ready to discard, there’s no paper waste involved. And if you need to keep a copy for your records, Zumbox will store it for you forever, for free.

Less paper means more space

With Zumbox, your records will be viewable at anytime from anywhere around the world on your computer, iPad or other device. You can set reminders to prompt you to pay bills, and you can print specific pages when needed.

Registering your Zumbox is also easy. All you have to do is sign up and provide your name and street address at www.zumbox.com, and you’ll automatically be matched with the companies that mail to your address and support Zumbox. While you may not be able to eliminate all your paper mail right away, there’s no doubt you’ll start reducing the flow and your carbon footprint along with it.

One more step toward truly reducing paper waste. And while it helps to save the planet, it also saves you time and space and it costs nothing to use. To register, go to www.zumbox.com.

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