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Paperless Payroll System Saves Money, Cuts GHGs

Payroll On A Budget’s paperless, Internet-based payroll system can save a 10-person office 1.3 metric tons of greenhouse gases, more than 58 pounds of paper and more than 2,000 gallons of water per year, the company says.

Companies can assess their environmental impact using Payroll On A Budget’s Green Payroll Calculator.

According to Payroll On A Budget, for a company with 10 employees and a weekly payroll, printing checks and reports, inserting them in envelopes and delivering them to employees requires more than 58 pounds of paper each year, or the equivalent of 12 reams. The environmental cost to produce, process and dispose of this paper is equivalent to 48 pounds of carbon gases and more than 2,080 gallons of water. And, the hard cost expenses for paper, checks, toner, postage and other supplies averages close to $500.

Additionally, the company says, if the employee drives five miles to the bank every week to cash or deposit a check, that’s 2,600 miles per year. This equates to more than 1.3 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide, according to the EPA, as well as a cost to the employees of more than $500 for gasoline.

US Department of Labor and EPA figures show that paper use by business has increased more than six-fold over the last 50 years, Payroll On A Budget says.

In addition to being a more environmentally friendly system, Internet payroll is more secure and helps avoid check fraud, says Charles J. Read, CPA, president of Payroll On A Budget.

Going paperless and reducing packaging are easy sustainability wins for companies, according to January research by the Network for Business Sustainability.

Despite this, a paper industry-led campaign the same month accused Google of greenwashing and federal trade violations, and urged it to reconsider a campaign urging businesses to “go paperless.” Two Sides sent an open letter to Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt warning that by promoting its Go Paperless in 2013 campaign, Google is trying to promote its services as environmentally preferable to print.


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