Snail Mail No More!
How paperless mail is gaining ground, or should I say gaining cyberspace
The recent fiasco surrounding T-mobile’s attempt to charge customers $1.50 for each paper bill — which they later had to retract after being sued — seemed to indicate people weren’t ready to go green with their mail. Or at least people weren’t willing to pay for something that was originally free. T-mobile thought that by charging for paper bills, its customers would switch over to paperless, which would save an estimated 10.8 million pounds of paper (equivalent to 13,500 trees) a year and who knows how much of T-mobile’s money. Before the charge, about 1,000 customers signed up for paperless each day, but after the charge was announced, more than 33,000 customers signed up daily to be paper-free. Many of them didn’t sign up with a green smile, however, and T-mobile suffered a public relations debacle.
So will paperless mail still be the next big thing in America?
The future of mail
Yes, it seems that paperless mail is the future. With the right incentives, people are ready to go green with their mail. Zumbox, the world’s first and only paperless postal system, has captured the attention of three major cities in the U.S.- San Francisco, Newark, and recently, New York City. Hopefully, with these cities leading by example, others will embrace the paperless postal system. The mayors of these three cities believe a paperless mail system will be more cost-effective, personal, and environmentally-friendly than traditional postal service.
Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco says paperless mail “supports our commitment to open government by offering a more direct and efficient online connection between the City and our residents. A paperless postal system represents a new opportunity for the City and County of San Francisco to reduce the City’s overall waste stream and will help in our efforts to reach zerowaste by 2020.”
Mayor Cory Booker of Newark exclaims, “Zumbox will help the City to save tax dollars, support our local businesses, and improve the way our city communicates.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York says, “Every day, new technological innovations help make information flow faster, systems work better and our lives a little easier. In serving the public, government should constantly be looking for new and better ways to provide information and services. The City’s pilot program with Zumbox will give us yet another means to get information to New Yorkers.”
What exactly is Zumbox?
Zumbox is a privately-held company based in California, and relies on its unique digital mailbox technology to make waves in the mail industry. Each U.S. address has a digital mailbox, appropriately named a Zumbox, which enables mail, newsletters, announcements, and other documents to be sent as files and received by other Zumbox users. There is no paper, postage, scanning or spam involved. Receiving and sending digital mail couldn’t be more secure or accurate. Zumbox uses precise geo-targeting technology to keep someone’s mail from ending up in another person’s Zumbox, and it complies with PCI, HIPAA, and BITS security standards to keep mail confidential.
Zumbox is free for municipal and state governments and receiving customers, and according to Donn Rappaport, CEO of Zumbox, “In an effort to support local economies, Zumbox is offering a free trial for qualified non-profit organizations and local businesses that wish to use the Zumbox service to send paperless mail to their supporters, customers, or local neighborhoods.”
The United States Postal Service is the second largest civilian employer in the US. It has around 656,000 employee who earn a living sorting, collecting, handling, and delivering paper mail and packages. In recent years, faxes and e-mail have taken a huge chunk out of USPS revenues, making the formerly profitable entity a huge loser for the U.S. Treasury. So what becomes of these people and their jobs? It would appear that the trend toward electronic mail, even newspapers and magazines, is irreversible and that the government should make plans for the serious downsizing of USPS.
Not only does Zumbox make mail more secure, convenient, and cheaper, going paperless helps our environment. By investing in a Zumbox you can reduce paper consumption, landfill masses, CO2 emissions from paper manufacturing and delivery trucks, and illegal logging.