One of the benefits of diving into the digital age is the positive effects it has on the environment. Because the postal service uses extra paper and multiple methods of transportation, people often stray away from the traditional, snail-mail form of mailing a thoughtful message to minimize their environmental footprint. While sustainability is certainly a gain, though, you can lose out on a level of compassion when sending a happy birthday email or congratulations social media post.
Fortunately, there’s a way you can have your cake and eat it too when mailing out congratulations and birthday cards. For the past few years, the U.S. Postal Service has been launching a series of green initiatives. Discover all the earth-friendly solutions available when using the postal service:
Many of the packaging products used by the USPS are made of recyclable material. For example, envelopes are made of paper and boxes are comprised of cardboard. With a quick reminder for the recipient in a note or greeting card, you can make sure these green materials make it to the recycling bin.
Aside from providing consumers with eco-friendly materials, the USPS also recognizes the importance of promoting sustainable behavior. A line of Go Green stamps released in April 2012 provides people with advice on implementing green initiatives in their own homes, from reminders to adjust the thermostat to suggestions on electricity efficiency.
Carpooling and utilizing public transportation have long been known as greener alternatives for commuters. Therefore, it’s understandable why those concerned about the welfare of the environment are troubled by the postal service trucks that drive around every U.S. neighborhood six days a week. To combat this problem, the USPS has been transitioning their fleet to greener vehicles. The postal service has already started utilizing hydrogen fuel cell delivery vehicles in some areas and is actively seeking greener alternatives for transportation.
Paper and plastic aren’t the only items the postal service is keeping out of the environment. According USPS, U.S. consumers throw out 350,000 cellphones and 130,000 computers every day. Additionally, consumers recycle less than 30 percent of their used electronics. Through the Return for Good Program, a USPS initiative, consumers can safely dispose of inkjet cartridges for free and even receive money for recycling small electronics like newer-model used cell phones, tablets and MP3 players. Not only is this convenient for those doing some spring cleaning, but it also has substantial advantages for the environment.
Consumers can take advantage of this earth-friendly opportunity by picking up a preprinted plastic envelope for the ink cartridge at their local post office and giving it to their local carrier. For small electronics, consumers can download a free printed label and request a shipping box if the device is worth over $10.
Through these efforts, the U.S. Postal Service saved over 250,000 tons of papers, cans and plastic waste in 2012, according to the Augusta Free Press. So, before you click send on a “thoughtful” email, see what other green options you can use to deliver a more personal touch with your next greeting card.