There's got to be a graph somewhere for the projected figures for mobile boarding pass usage—and boy, is that red line going to be a steep, north face of the Eiger-esque uphill trek. Trinity Mobile has just announced a 1,200% increase in the use of mobile boarding passes by airline passengers in the past year. While 2008 saw just 50,000 travelers take advantage of the technology, which works by using a scanner to read the QR code directly off the display of your smartphone, in 2009, that number had increased to 600,000.
But the news gets better and better for the poor little trees, who used to be cut down in their prime to make those fiddly bits of card that inevitably got lost between check-in and departure gate—i.e., in the Whisky section of the Duty Free shop. This year, 2 billion mobile boarding passes are expected to be used, while 2014 sees that figure rise to 15 billion. Right now someone, somewhere is probably working out just how to monetize the idea.