Would you like an e-ceipt with that?
I wrote about e-receipts a while back after learning that at Apple Stores, you can opt to have a receipt sent to you via e-mail instead of issued in paper form on the spot. To me, it seems like a natural evolution in receipts. That's how my proofs of purchase show up when I order online, or when I pay bills online, so why not when I make an in-store purchase? (I might be a bit warier for purchases made with cash, but as long as there's an electronic record stored with my bank or credit card company, I feel fine.)
But the paperless push doesn't just end for end-user purchases. Environmental Leader reports that UPS is trying to convince SMBs to adopt electronic billing by tugging at their eco-conscious heartstrings: "UPS has partnered with the National Arbor Day Foundation to make a $1 donation to the organization for every customer who opts for the paperless PDF invoice."
As UPS describes it, the benefits of a PDF receipt are numerous. It no doubt saves the company cash on printing and mailing receipts. And for customers, it means you receive receipts faster and in convenient electronic format.
Make the pile lower
Electronic tickets and receipts are, to me, really low-hanging fruit in the drive toward the paperless office. They represent the end part of complex workflows that are often tied to hard-to-change business practices and technology (or lack thereof).
One of the most obvious ways to cut paper (and print) waste at the office is to crack down on all the superfluous printing and copies end-users make. The average employee reportedly wastes $85 worth of printer paper and ink each year through unnecessary prints. Products such as GreenPrint offer an easy, non-disruptive tool for putting a dent in the pile. The utility lets users preview printouts and easily remove specific pages, text, or graphics from a print session.
But companies are taking further steps to reduce paper use, in the name of boosting efficiency. Insurance company Lloyd's (of London) has most recently garnered attention in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Times Online for company CEO Richard Ward's paper-cutting efforts. According to the Times, "a colleague in IT told him that each day Lloyd's was sending four tons of documents to its sorting office in Chatham, all carried by those white vans."