This month, it was announced that the function of another U.S. government agency will be making changes to reduce paper waste. We've already seen a major shift to paperless systems at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration this year. Now, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is taking steps to reduce paper waste and improve efficiency, at least in one major city.

If you've ever traveled overseas, you already know about the hassle of filling out paper customs forms, but have you ever stopped to think about how much paper these forms waste? Electronic kiosks could be the solution.

At Chicago-O’Hare, these kiosks have been installed for use in place of paper. The touchscreen kiosks ask the same questions found on the paper forms. When the questionnaire is completed, the terminal prints a small paper receipt, which is then presented to U.S. Customs agents. While there is still some paper involved in the process, the amount is minimal compared to the current system.

The $2 million price tag for the kiosks were paid for by the Chicago Department of Aviation and a similar system was installed for Canadian customs in Vancouver International Airport. The 32 new kiosks in O'Hare are expected to go live on July 1. If the program proves successful, it's likely that other airports will follow in O'Hare's lead, as the kiosks promise not only to save paper, but also to cut down on wait times.



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