Tired of opening letters and bills? There's a new service, Earth Class Mail, that will receive your postal mail for you, send you scans of the unopened letters and parcels, and then let you figure out what to do with your mail. Its options include physically forwarding the mail to you, recycling or shredding the mail, or opening it and scanning the contents for electronic delivery and archiving.
I love this idea. It could make it possible for me to receive my mail when I'm on vacation or on a long business trip, for one thing. For people who are by nature nomadic (sales people or execs who work overseas for months at a time), it's a no-brainer. Also, it's very green. It centralizes the recycling and disposal of mail one would never open, and it cuts down on the transport of tons of paper.
Of course, security is an issue. I don't want some wacko opening my mail and scanning my bills. I asked CEO Ron Wiener, and he beamed while discussing the people he has doing the company's grunt work: they're all disabled veterans with Department of Defense clearance, he says. They work in a clean room and wear uniforms with no pockets. And every piece of mail is videotaped when it's handled by a person; you even can watch the video of your letter being opened, if you want.
There are various levels of service. The least expensive, personal service is $9.95 a month. If you pay more, you get more storage, more credits for physical forwards, and more electronic archiving. The company also works with corporate mailroom operators such as Pitney Bowes to bring this service to your business.
Earth Class Mail launched last year in Portland, Oregon, but it is now rolling it out to 18 more cities, including major population centers such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Also coming later this year is the ability to deposit checks directly from the Earth Class Mail interface.
See also: PayTrust, which consolidates your paper bills and lets you pay them online.
I met up with this company at the Web Ventures event.