Use Direct Deposit, Save the Planet

We love direct deposit. Ok, maybe not “love”, but we really, really like it. Here’s why: It saves money. It saves time. It reduces errors. And it even saves the planet. As part of Blog Action Day, we are going to explain how dramatically the use of direct deposit can help the environment.

Direct deposit is an electronic deposit of your regular pay or benefits check. It has been around for years, and many employers (and State and Federal agencies) use it to pay their employees or to dole out benefits (like Social Security payments). On your pay or benefits day, you no longer receive a physical check that you need to take somewhere to cash or deposit. Instead, your full pay or benefits check goes directly into your bank (or prepaid) account.

Millions of people around the world receive their pay and benefits this way. Unfortunately, there are still millions of people who receive checks the old fashioned way. What if we eliminated all of those paper checks?

The folks at Pay it Green have provided a handy calculator to help figure out the environmental benefits we could enjoy by switching more people to direct deposit.

Since we don’t know how many people in the word still get paper checks that could switch to direct deposit, let’s take a look at a group of people that we do know the exact details for: Beneficiaries of Social Security payments in the U.S.

The Social Security Administration encourages all recipients of Social Security benefits to use direct deposit. The SSA also publishes monthly statistics about how many beneficiaries use direct deposit. Here’s the numbers as of October 2009. In the month of October there were:

  • Almost 7 Million Social Security Check Payments
  • Almost 45 Million Social Security Direct Deposit Payments

Over the course of a year, that means there are 84 million pieces of paper (and envelopes) mailed out to Social Security Beneficiaries (the folks who have not signed up for direct deposit yet).

Using the handy calculator from Pay it Green, if 50% of the those check recipients switched to direct deposit, here’s the environmental benefit we would enjoy:

  • We would save 654,150 pounds of paper each year.
  • We would prevent 6,239,282 gallons of wastewater from being created
  • We would save 242,341 gallons of gasoline
  • We would prevent the creation of 745,076 pounds of waste.
  • We would prevent the creation of 1,864,044 pounds of greenhouse gases

It’s such a simple step. Sign up for direct deposit, and enjoy all the benefits that come with it (and help the planet!).

If saving the planet isn’t big enough motivation for you, consider this: most prepaid debit cards have lower fees for people who use direct deposit!

Check out more planet-saving tips at Blog Action Day.

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