If one in five households switched to electronic bills, statements and payments, the collective impact would save 151 million pounds of paper, avoid filling 8.6 million household garbage bags with waste and avoid producing 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study commissioned by the PayItGreen Alliance.
The alliance is asking financial institutions and businesses to encourage their customers to turn off paper bills and statements and make payments electronically.
The average household receives approximately 19 bills and statements and makes approximately seven paper payments per month, according to the study. Collectively, the production and transportation of those paper bills, statements and payments consume 755 million pounds of paper, nine million trees and 512 million gallons of gasoline.
By 2011, Forrester expects online banking adoption to grow by 55%, to roughly 72 million households. In 2011, 76% of online households will bank online. The largest adoption growth will come from the Gen Y segment, and in 2011, 85% of Gen Yers will bank online.
Javelin Strategy & Research seems to disagree with Forrester. In a recent report it said that the adoption of online banking has slowed. But, by underscoring the environmental benefits of paperless banking, financial institutions can continue to gain online customers, the report suggests.
“Consumers are likely to choose environmentally friendly options when given the chance,” said Craig Vaream, managing director, Domestic ACH and Global Check Deposits, JPMorgan Chase and co-chair of the PayItGreen Alliance. “Businesses and financial institutions can increase the use of electronic bills, statements and payments significantly by telling customers about their green programs and asking them to switch to the electronic options.
UPS recently surveyed its customers to find out what would make them switch away from paper. What they discovered was that the primary motivator would be the environment. To reduce paper/help the environment was the reason cited by 40 percent of those polled.