First established by Benjamin Franklin in 1775, by decree of the Second Continental Congress, the United States Postal Service is one of the oldest institutions in America. However, the city governments of San Francisco, Newark and New York recently signed on to provide paperless municipal mail through Zumbox instead of using the postal service.
Since the advent of email, mobile texting and other forms of digital communication, use of “snail mail” has become slightly inefficient and wasteful.
To produce and process 4 million tons of junk mail a year, 100 million trees are destroyed and 28 billion gallons of water is wasted. Also, $320 million of local taxes are spent to dispose of junk mail each year instead of providing parks, libraries, health care and other valuable services (41pounds.org).
In addition, municipal mail accounts for a staggering amount of postal transactions. In New York City alone, 15 million pieces of mail from the City are sent out on a typical day (MNN.com).
As a solution, some have pointed to paperless mail options like California-based Zumbox, which replaces your physical mailbox with an official inbox for your residence’s address.
From the official website: “Zumbox is the world’s first and only paperless postal system. The company has created a web-based platform for the delivery of paperless mail. For every U.S. street address, there is a corresponding digital mailbox – a Zumbox – enabling mail and other content to be sent as digital files and received online with no paper, printing or postage, and no scanning. Zumbox represents a more cost-effective and environmentally responsible way to send postal mail.”
Supporters of this decision in each of the three cities hope that citizens will now have a chance to experiment with the Zumbox software and discover how easy and secure it is to use. Eventually, advertisers may also switch to this type of service, which can offer precise geo-targeting and analytics for marketing while stil drastically reducing the need for paper and postage.
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