Newsom: You’ve got paperless mail

San Francisco, you’ve got mail.

And not only was it signed and delivered by our very own Mayor Gavin Newsom, the online letter you probably don’t yet know you’ve received represents another few pieces of paper that The City says didn’t need to be used.

The goal is to save The City money.

San Francisco residents can now log in for free to Zumbox, an online postal service company that offers residents, businesses and government entities alike to send paperless mail based on home-and-work street addresses rather than the more personal email addresses.

Newsom is promoting the idea. He hopes residents will voluntarily ask that certain government mail be sent only via the online service. That would save on some of the massive amounts of paper The City uses daily for mailing, which is good for the environment and the budget.

“A paperless postal system represents a new opportunity for the City and County of San Francisco to reduce The City's overall waste stream and will help in our efforts to reach zero waste by 2020,” Newsom said in a statement.

Lawrence Grodeska, the Internet communications coordinator with the Department of Environment, says Zumbox “seems to have a lot of promise” and would allow The City to send mail for free. It’s a win-win in that it wouldn’t cost The City anything and the success of the concept would be based on how many folks sign on to it, Grodeska said.

City officials aren’t suggesting the online postal service will eliminate paper mail. Some residents don’t have access to computers and some mail needs to be hardcopy, said Mark Westlund, spokesman for the Department of Environment.

“It’s more a way to amplify our communications as opposed to entirely replacing a particular means of communication,” Westlund said.

If you visit the Web site and type in your mailing address, you will receive your first piece of email, which is from Newsom. He not only introduces Zumbox, but also warns of a new recycling and composting rules coming next month that could include fines for those who do not comply.

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