I find myself intrigued by the notion of a paperless life. There are three reasons for this: it's easier to be organised if I only have to track a handful of items, rather than endless bits of paper; it's tidier to generate less stuff that must either be stored or thrown away; it's better for the environment. (Even if we recycle every sheet of paper that comes our way, it's not 100% reuse - some is always lost in the process, and anyway the process itself requires energy. Better simply not to generate the paper in the first place.)
Of course, it is not possible to achieve a truly paperless life. Some of the steps required rely on other people, while some require the use of technologies that don't even exist yet. Plus, of course, electronic book readers are a poor substitute for the real thing.
Still, there are some things that can be done. And, to that end, there are two things to consider:
Where something can be done in a paperless manner, should it be done in a paperless manner? Is paperless billing the way to go? Can I track appointments and contact details on my phone and my PC, without having to handle cards to those effects at all?
Where something can't be done in a paperless manner, should it even be done at all? Can I avoid getting those annoying spam* letters, that I have to open, check, shred, and then recycle? Can I opt out of the SkyMag that I never read? And so on.
At this stage, this is very much a thought experiment. I'm still at an early stage of even accepting the use of a mobile phone (I know, I'm some sort of crazy Luddite), never mind using it to run my life. And paperless billing worries me, especially for important things like bank statements.
Still, it is definitely something to consider for the future.
* Actually, I've ranted about these before. Why exactly have they not been banned? I mean, this is one very obvious measure that would make a real difference to the amount of waste we collectively generate, would cause very little pain (and actually improve life for a lot of people, albeit slightly), and yet it doesn't get done.
#45: "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", by Ian Fleming