What does saving paper really look like?

By on June 28, 2010 at 8:16 AM

Posted in: On the Web

You’re already making a big difference, and may not even realize it. Now you can see it. By opting for eBill, ePolicy and automatic payments, our customers are saving millions of sheets of paper. With over 9 million policyholders, that equals a lot of trees. But how many exactly?

Our challenge was to help you (and us) visualize how much of an impact our customers are actually making by going paperless. So, we dug deep into our high school math knowledge (with a little help from the Environmental Defense Fund’s online paper calculator*) and started crunching some numbers. But numbers alone are pretty boring, so we added pictures, too.

Because of your commitment to the environment, we were able to compare the amount of paper saved to the weight of African elephants. And the length of the trees saved compared to the Golden Gate Bridge, Eiffel Tower and even geckos! Disclaimer: We didn’t line up over 1.3 million geckos to calculate this number. There’s actually an average gecko length!

Check out the interactive page below which helps you picture exactly how much of an impact signing up for eBill, ePolicy and automatic payments have had on the environment. If you haven’t yet signed up, you can join the millions of customers already making a difference and see the numbers increase every day.

What does saving paper look like?

*Environmental impact estimates are based on averages and were made using the Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator.  For more information visit http://papercalculator.org

7 responses to “What does saving paper really look like?

  1. walter thomson says:

    good article poor ending. why put in “Check out the interactive page below ” when it is blocked by Geico?  So many good articles can be found on here but then Geico blocks the ending which is begining to discourage even reading them. Yes you can copy  and paste them and email them to yourself at home or hand write them and hope you are copying them correctly, but then you don;t always get  around to actually viewing them at home or hooking them with the story.

  2. Cavewoman35 says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of bowling balls!

  3. martyn eustace says:

    I’m afraid that all this is a bit misguided. please read on…..
    Encouraging customers to get their bills online and also stating that this is better for the environment is increasingly being questioned. In the past two months, faced with being reported to the Advertising Standards Association, (ASA), several very large nationally known UK organisations have stopped similar messages, having accepted they were being made without adequate research, contravening CSR Europe and CAP (Code of Advertising Practice) guidelines.

    Whilst the efficiency of electronic communication is clear and initiatives to reduce waste are to be encouraged, the Two Sides organisation, which exists to explore the Myths and Facts concerning the sustainability of Print and Paper, and has members spanning the whole Graphic Communications Value Chain, is concerned that incorrect and damaging impressions are being given if ‘go paperless’ initiatives are promoted as ‘green’ or seek to gain credibility by purporting to aid sustainability at the expense of the print and paper industry.

    It is increasingly clear that electronic communication and in particular the energy requirements of the increasing worldwide network of servers which are necessary to store all the information needed for immediate access, has a significant and increasing carbon footprint. Electronic document storage must be recognised as delivering efficiency but not sustainability. In the UK it has been suggested that PC’s and servers may consume up to 50% of household energy requirements in the next 10 years. Greenpeace has reported that electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream and there are extremely serious disposal costs emerging.

    All those who encourage customers to switch to e-billing, or any other form of electronic communication, largely to reduce costs, should re-examine their messages as it is certainly questionable whether e-billing or e-communication has a lower carbon footprint. In fact, with all the environmental costs of electronic communication and with many customers printing out their bills at home for reference, (a recent study has assumed this between 10% and 30 % depending upon whether you are a business or private consumer), at a possible higher environmental cost than a centrally produced and distributed bill, print and paper may well be the environmentally sustainable way to communicate.

    Paper is a renewable and recyclable product that, if responsibly produced and consumed, is an environmentally sustainable media. It is often surprising to learn that in Europe, where 93% of our paper comes from, the area of forest has grown by 30% since 1950 and is increasing at a rate of 1.5 million football pitches every year.

    And with 55% of the worldwide forest harvest being consumed for fuel and 34% for construction and other uses, only 11% is actually directly used for making paper.

    So, if your organisation is using messages that e-billing, or any other form of electronic communication, is more environmentally friendly than traditional print and paper, please check that you have not only calculated your own savings but also accurately assessed and calculated the downstream consequential costs.

    Misleading environmental claims are not only increasingly being examined by regulators but jeopardise the livelihood of the many thousands of people employed in the Graphic Communications Value Chain.

    It is encouraging that responsible organisations are now thinking carefully about the statements they make and ensuring that they are not simply repeating old misconceptions.

  4. Tim says:

    The comment above is a flagrant shill by a man whose job is to sell paper. Look: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/martyneustace
    He posted the same nonsense here: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/08/12/online-billing-may-not-be-as-sustainable-as-you-think/

  5. Savings Calculator says:

    Misleading environmental claims are not only increasingly being examined by regulators but jeopardise the livelihood of the many thousands of people employed in the Graphic Communications Value Chain.

  6. Savings Calculator says:

    Electronic document storage must be recognised as delivering efficiency but not sustainability. In the UK it has been suggested that PC’s and servers may consume up to 50% of household energy requirements in the next 10 years. Greenpeace has reported that electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream and there are extremely serious disposal costs emerging.
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    ROTHALLEN

  7. mechengg78 says:

    I like the idea of paperless bill because it is very convenient and environment-friendly. However, my concern is what if something goes wrong with the web, say a glitch or something, will all the information get lost? I know you have a back-up system, but I don’t know how much files it can take.
    Besides, your talking about millions of customers and each costumer has been with Geico for say, 20 years. Every year, there are 12 pages of statements, every six months, the policy renewal has 10 pages. Every year, there are at least 32 pages.
    From the beginning till the present time, each customer is alloted 640 pages. Say you have a million customers, thats a whooping 640 million equivalent pages of files that goes to the hard drive?.
    Just a thought.