If we stacked up all the mail that comes into our homes or office mailboxes, it would probably be a formidable pile at the end of the year.
Needless to say, all this amounts to a tremendous wastage of resources. About 4 billion trees are cut down each year for paper, according to Ecology.com and not surprisingly, some of those trees come from endangered forests.
What can we do as individuals and businesses to help reduce the amount of our paper mail? If you’re in Singapore, you can simply go online and paperless with your bills by signing up with GreenPost.
GreenPost is a breakthrough and patent pending online platform, which successfully aggregates eBills for consumers and businesses in Singapore. As an Electronic Bill Presentation and Payment (“EBPP”) solution, it is an innovative technology that realizes the holy-grail of a paperless lifestyle: single window bill aggregation and payment.
It makes it really easy not only for us to access multiple bills online but also to archive bills for offline viewing, analyse billing patterns, and make payments. Payment alerts and reminders can be set up via sms, so one doesn’t have to fear skipping payment deadlines and paying late payment charges.
At the moment, online billing is available for Singapore’s 4 high volume billers, namely SingTel, StarHub, M1 and Singapore Power. Eventually, GreenPost plans to include statements from banks and insurance companies as well.
The four billers mentioned above have about half a million users in Singapore that are being targeted by GreenPost. If each user signed up and saved 20 or so pages a month by going online, about a thousand trees could be saved from being cut down every month, according to Anand Singh, CEO of GreenBills Pte Ltd, Singapore, the company behind the successful beta testing and launch of GreenPost in 2009.
GreenBills Pte Ltd was set up in 2005 and is funded by the Singapore Government (through SPRING Singapore), NUS and private investors. The board is made up of highly technology oriented professionals, including Anand Singh who is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India.
Currently only less than 5% of Singaporeans have signed on to any kind of online billing and gone paperless, by Greenpost’s running survey and secondary market statistics, so the potential for reducing paper use is huge.
Billers in Singapore alone send an estimated 250 million paper bills every year according to the Print Bureau. That could well mean 1 billion pages every year! From the biller’s point of view, each paper bill can cost anywhere between 0.60 cents to $3 when you consider paper, marketing pamphlets, postage, printing, and labour costs. This translates to a cost of about S$200 million each year for billers.
GreenPost helps billers slash their expenses while encouraging customer registration on billers’ own websites, a key objective of most billers. GreenPost therefore gives billers sound cost and revenue reasons to save the environment.
The company is also looking to develop Business to Business or B2B solutions, to reduce the amount of paperwork between companies and bring about cost savings. It also plans to take the solution abroad to other countries in the region.
The objective of GreenPost is to make Singapore paperless by 2012. It’s an ambitious goal, but one that can bring huge benefits to customers, billers and the environment if realised.