Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Paper Trash


Two big bagfuls of shredded paper. Stuffs that I would consider confidential. Banking statements, insurance matters, tax matters, etc. I usually keep all these hardcopy records, but I’ll start to clear out the older ones when I run out of space to keep them. There’s so much paper. There’s even more paper that I didn’t shred. Those are the less confidential stuff.

I’m slowly trying to convert myself to electronic bills or electronic statements, whenever they are available. Some times, the service providers still insist on sending a paper copy even when you’ve opted to take up electronic versions. Then, there are some times when electronic versions are troublesome to retrieve, which then makes the paper version more attractive.

If we want to save the earth by using less paper (using recycled paper is one matter, but not use paper to begin with would be even better), I think the various service providers that send us stuff in the mail should think how they can optimise their mailing operations. Some service providers, for example, send more junk (i.e. advertisements) in their mail than the actual bills or statements that actually matter.

Then, there are those zero-dollar bills. Should such bills be sent at all? Perhaps not, since no action is required on your part. On the other hand, some people might argue that the statement of account is important. At the very least, it would service to remind customers that they still have a relationship with the service provider, lest they forget about it if they don’t hear anything for a long time.

Electronic bills and statements would solve some of those problems. Provided, of course, that electronic versions are in fact actually convenient to use and, well, is secure where privacy is important. Customers need to be reminded about those bills in a reliable manner too, because, as we all know sometimes email gets missed or misdirected into the spam folder.

The next thing is about magazines and newspapers. Over time we’re going to have so much of it. Yes, yes, I know we can recycle those paper. But if things were electronic, there would be a need for paper to begin with. I’m starting to buy into the idea of electronic magazines, something I’ll talk about another time.

For me, I think the push to go electronic is not so much about saving the earth per se, but simply that, frankly, I’ve got too much paper and I don’t have enough space. Besides, I don’t like handling paper either.

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