Wal-Mart announced that it will stop issuing paper checks to employees who decline to utilize direct deposit. Instead, it will issue debit cards to those employees. The company estimates that it will save more than 257,000 pounds of paper per year through this initiative, given that roughly half of its employees still receive paper checks at this point.
The news articles indicate that government agencies such as Social Security have begun making a shift to debit cards as well. I found that particularly interesting, given that the other day, I received another copy of my "Social Security Benefits Statement" in the mail. I seem to get these statements periodically, despite the fact that I have nearly forty years until I hit retirement age. As I received my statement the other day, which is several pages long, I wondered how costly these mailings are for the federal government. The waste in paper and money must just be incredible. It makes you wonder whether past attempts to "reinvent government" really made a substantial difference.