• Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Saving paper, and problems at Bangkok's Suwarnabhumi airport...
    It's not often that I say, "hey, here's a great idea from Thailand", but I'm going to now. Hey, here's a great idea from Thailand. We get our water bill every month and I've never really given it much thought. However, yesterday I was sat at my desk when the guy from the water company arrived. He pulled out his little computer device, scanned the water meter, processed a bill immediately and dropped it in the letter box. Amazing!
    Back in the UK the guy will come and read the meter, quarterly rather than monthly, and then a bill is generated at the office which gets mailed out along with all kinds of junk at the same time. Surely the Thai way of doing this presents not only a financial saving but also an environmental saving.
    The 2001 census showed that there are something like 22.5million households in the UK. Even if we assume 2% have their own water supply (bore hole), which is probably a generous estimation, that still leaves just over 22million homes. Every one of those will receive a quartely bill. If we say that each bill with its envelope, bill, and junk mail is approximately 2 sheets of A4, 4 times a year, to 22million homes that comes to the equivalent of 176million pieces of A4 paper a year. Assuming the weight of a piece of paper is 4 grams that calculates to approximately 704 tonnes of paper a year. I'm neither economist nor mathematician so there maybe need for adjustment here.

    Here is the Thai bill, with advertising on the back:

    The financial saving is in manpower from the back office bill generation, paper, ink, and postage. The environmental saving is in paper, ink, electricity producing the bills and creating the junk they insist on sending with the bill, and the postal saving. Extra income can be gained from advertising on the back of the bill like the Thai version above. Maybe there's a good reason they don't do this back home but it makes sense to me. Just imagine the commulative saving from all utilities going down the same route! How many trees is that?

    More bad news from Suwarnabhuni Airport, Thailand's shiny new airport. Authorities are drafting in more security staff to protect Thai staff and air hostesses during the evening. As the airport is not yet complete there are quite a few construction workers still milling around. Story goes that these guys have been sexually harassing Thai ladies in the quieter areas of the airport and in the car parks. Someone has also been drilling peep holes in the ladies loos too. I'm guessing that if there are peep holes then there's almost certainly going to be, or have been, cameras too (as regularly happens here). So soon there will be news about clips of air hostesses and female tourists performing their daily functions on the internet. What a strange world we live in. The same thing happened recently at a Starbuck downtown.

    Saving paper, and problems at Bangkok's Suwarnabhumi airport...


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