Don’t print this email…

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One of my biggest pet peeves is reading a bill from “large company” (bank, utility, etc.) that claims:

e-billing is better for the environment.

And this peeve ranks just under it; seeing the following in an email signature:

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

The implication is that printing paper kills trees, ergo is bad for our environment.  Does virgin paper come (in large part) from tree pulp?  Yes it does.  But as with all things, the real truth is more complicated than simple one-dimensional judgements.  

Consider the following truths:

My conclusion IS NOT that you shouldn’t pay your bills online, or that you should always print your emails for reading.  It is important to debunk the myth that electronic communication is environmentally superior to printed paper communication.  I believe you should do what works best for you, because the environmental impact is likely negligible.

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