Letters to the Editor

Paper waste

September 2, 2009


To the editor:

We hear so much in today’s world about saving energy, conserving resources and other environmental concerns.

I just finished writing checks for the monthly bills. I am overwhelmed at the amount of waste included in these bills sent in the mail. There is usually some slick color-printed flier trying to goad the customer into spending some more of their hard-earned money on additional “services” or other money pits.

There are such fliers in credit card bills, utility bills, subscription renewals and so on. The cost of paper and printing services for all this junk mail by public utilities and city services must be enormous. I would wager that most of this trash included in your water bill, gas bill, electric bill and phone bill goes in the trash. And the cost is an add-on to the cost of providing the services.

I recall a few years (decades?) back hearing about how the intrusion of technology into our society would create a “paperless society.” And yet all of the above plus the waste of paper in many office environments is a huge loss of resources. I have worked in several office environments, and the largest wastepaper basket, which was always full, was at the office printing station.

Those who are making a large issue of energy and resource conservation need to give some thoughtful consideration to this very evident mismanagement of resources and the costs that are imposed on customers of public utilities and other services.


hail2oldku 8 years, 4 months ago

That's just crazy talk pywacket. If he did that he'd have to find something else to b!tch about.

workinghard 8 years, 4 months ago

To pay your utilities online you usually have to pay a fee. I find it amazing that I can buy from small merchants online without a fee, but big utilities charge extra. I don't let the water dept. or gas company automatically withdraw because when the make a mistake you can't get your money back, you get a credit on your next bill.

workinghard 8 years, 4 months ago

I do pay my other bills, phones, satellite, doctor, and credit cards online at no charge. Some of those you can chose paperless billing but you do have to have a computer for those. What I hate is the product manufacturers that send out a mail advertising their new product, but don't include a coupon, that is a waste of paper.

Boeing 8 years, 4 months ago

E-Bill, E-Bill, E-Bill. Not only do I pay most of my bills online, I GET most of my bills online. They come in .pdf form and I never get a thing in the mail. If I ever actually desire a paper bill, I just print off the .pdf file. Saves paper, saves postage, saves space, saves everything.

And I have never had to spent a single penny to pay my bills online...and I never do the auto withdrawal thing, I pay on a bill-by-bill basis so I always know the exact amount of money I have in my account.

Really, quite simple, cheap and green.

labmonkey 8 years, 4 months ago

All the crap they throw into bills, it's like they are saying "Here! You throw this away." Although I pay most of my bills online, I still cannot bring myself to go paperless...maybe because they tell me it's the "green" thing to do. I hate that term...."going green."

Take_a_letter_Maria 8 years, 4 months ago

I like to take the unsolicited credit card stuff, take out anything that has my name on it, shove the rest of it in the return envelope and mail it back to them.

password 8 years, 4 months ago

Not everyone has a computer or internet. Yes, there are people out there without that amenity.

canyon_wren 8 years, 4 months ago

I will never pay bills online. I suspect that down the road many people will regret exposing their personal business to that extent, and certainly it's worth the postage to me to do it the snail mail way. On the other hand, I live in a small community where the opportunity for someone to steal checks for bills out of my mailbox is pretty minimal, and I can imagine that, for that reason alone, online bill paying is more sensible in large cities, etc.

I think complaining about the stuff you get from utilities is ridiculous when there is so much unsolicited crap out there coming through the mails. It is encouraging to have read (in a recent J-W) that apparently enough catalog companies, etc., are folding as to reduce the amount of junk being mailed, but I am sure that is temporary.

Dan Edwards 8 years, 4 months ago

I think the only bill I can't get online via PDF is Lawrence Utility Billing. I can't help but think that investing in the ability to put those bills online would more than pay for itself in such a tech-savvy city when loads of people like myself sign up for the online-only option to save on the amount of paper and postage waste. I remember thinking five years ago that Lawrence would surely have a paperless option before long, but here it is 2009 and they're still cutting down trees to tell me how much water I used.

As for people who still want that piece of paper, that's fine. Every other company who has online billing still will send a regular statement in the mail to those who prefer it. But I guarantee the number of people prefering that option will steadily decrease as the years go by and people become more accustomed to the benefits of web-based billing and payment. And those who are still paranoid about paying online could still mail a check even if the bill comes electronically. Of course they might need to hand address the envelope.

Georgine McHenry 8 years, 4 months ago

Just for fun a few months back, I weighed the "stuffers" sent with the three utility bills. It was interesting to find that the flyers and extras came to an ounce. Although that does not sound very impressive in itself, multiplied by the number of households in Lawrence, it could add up quickly to tons.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago


Mr. Fred, Get a bidet!


so, how much paper did Freddie waste in preparing and submitting this letter to the editor? or, if submitted electronically, how many electrons were slaughtered wantonly for his vapid little opinion to be expressed?

heck, he probably believes the myth of manmade global warming, too.

Ann Hamil 8 years, 4 months ago

One good use for those plastic sleeves from the newspaper is to donate them to your favorite art teacher--especially elementary art. They make great clay or plaster sculpture storage bags (small sculptures--but that is what you make in elementary art). --then the students can use them to transport their works home. At least they get a "reuse".

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