Stop! Don’t Take That ATM Receipt!


Visits to the bank result in one of the biggest sources of litter in the planet: ATM receipts are tossed about as much as gum wrappers. With eight billion ATM transactions in the United States doling out $600 billion in cash per year, that’s a lot of money to make the world go ‘round. Unfortunately, the planet is paying for all those withdrawals by enduring the paper waste that is produced.

Still, people use paper checks, too, about thirty-seven billion of them a year. That’s even more paper waste from banking. People use them to pay bills, mostly credit cards bills. The average family in the United States has four credit cards. In total, that means there are about four hundred million little plastic cards in circulation in this country. Placed one in front of the other, they would forge a path more thank twenty-one thousand miles long!

Keeping all that in mind, we want to keep it simple. Here are some ways to make a big impact with the least amount of effort.

1.    Don’t take an ATM receipt– ATM receipts are one of the top sources of litter in the planet. If everyone in the United States left their receipt in the machine, it would save a roll of paper more thank two billion feet long or enough to circle the equator fifteen times.

2.    Request automatic deposits for your paychecks. Not only will you get you money faster but you’ll reduce the time and fuel you spend to go to the bank. More than seven billion checks are written annually that could be replaced by automatic deposits. If everyone who was eligible for automatic deposits opted for it, it would save about $65 billion in fuel costs and lost time expense and enough paper for everyone in the world.

3.    Get paperless bank statements. Some banks will pay you a dollar or donate the money on your behalf when you cancel the monthly statements you get in the mail. If every household took advantage of online bank statements, the money saved could send more than seventeen thousand recent high school graduates to a public university for a year.

4.    Pay bills electronically. If every household paid just its credit card bills electronically, it would save almost $2 billion a year in postage costs, or enough to wipe out average credit card debt for $250,000 people.

Making these simple changes can make a dramatic impact for our environment. So let’s all do our part this Earth Month and commit to a few small changes.

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