Want to Save the Planet? Have Your (Snail) Mail Scanned


Finland’s new mail program hopes to cut costs and decrease pollution.

According to the Telegraph, a new system launched in Finland may have snail mail sliding even further from our fingertips. On April 12, Itella, which runs the country’s postal system, will begin a pilot program in which mail is scanned, digitized, and then emailed to recipients. Once in action, it is anticipated that this plan will reduce carbon emissions, paper waste and cut costs by limiting the number of mail carriers on the road.

So far, 126 households and 20 businesses have volunteered to take part in the project. Once mail is scanned, participants receive a text message or email that their mail is ready to view. Some skeptics are worried about privacy issues and have likened this new mail system to tactics used by the KGB. But advocates of the program insist that mail is not read nor is it kept once it has been copied. When it comes to security, Itella’s director, Tommy Tikka, compares the approach not to e-mail but to web banking, insisting the program is safe and secure.

But what about things that can’t be scanned? Replacement credit cards, the feel of embossed fonts, the smell of perfume-scented love letters? For this trial, hard copies of scanned mail (including any additional non-scannable pieces) will still be delivered twice weekly to homes and offices. It’s unclear as to whether this will continue on a regular basis after the trial period has concluded. The trial will run through the end of the year, and if the feedback is positive, the result will be a more widespread program.

With America appearing to move towards cutting Saturday mail deliveries, will this new mail system be next for us, too? Here’s hoping!

But, in the meantime, if you want to eliminate your junk mail right now, check out Tonic’s own Precycle!

Editor’s note: Article by Sophie Rosenblum. Originally published by our friends at Tonic.com. Tonic is a digital media company and news source dedicated to promoting the good that happens each day around the world. Tonic tells the stories of people and organizations who are working to make a difference, by inspiring good in themselves and others. Be sure to visit them and say hi, and follow Tonic on Twitter, too!


Image: uzvards