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The U.S. Postal Service changed its mind.

Posted September 10, 2012 by Nicole Haskins

I thought I was doing so well by going green: I had taken steps to start recycling, use containers over and over again, wash out Ziploc bags, and reuse old clothes as rags. But while watching TV the other day, I saw something that went against everything I’d been taught. A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) commercial. I heard, “Mail – - it’s good for business and even better for your customers.”

It might as well have been a S.O.S. to businesses everywhere that the USPS needs support, but mail is a dying form of communication that is expensive, wasteful, and against every environmental and efficiency lesson I’ve been taught for years. Everywhere I go I am guided and suggested to go green, go cheaper, go electronic, or go home. It’s a message that’s been shaped for the past decade from groups like the National Forest Service to the Girl Scouts to grocery stores to waste management companies. I myself have preached it consistently to local governments and utilities because it is proven to be more efficient, cheaper, and a more effective form of communication for customers in the digital age.

The USPS has changed their tune because they are losing money. I don’t pretend to know how to save the postal service and can certainly empathize with their plight, but clearly, at least for utilities, staying with paper mail is not the answer. Utilities today need to stay the digital course by using e-billing, suppressing paper, and communicating with customers electronically. Like all businesses, utilities must strive to become more efficient by stripping out unnecessary costs and automating where possible to keep rates low.

Working to become 100% paperless is the best plan for the future. Yes, the USPS will suffer, locations will continue to close, and rates will continue to go up, but can we really go backwards? There is a reason that the automobile replaced the horse and buggy. Change and innovation is inevitable, and embracing it will be the best solution in the long run.

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