Tuesday, June 7, 2011

USPS Goes Green

I finally got my hands on a pane of the United States Postal Service's (USPS) new Green Stamps. The stamps, designed by San Francisco artist and founder of the nonprofit Climate Cartoons, Eli Noyes, depict 16 small steps we can take to reduce our environmental impact. Ideas such as turning off the lights when they're not in use and recycling more aren't new, but maybe seeing them more often will be a gentle reminder to make these things part of our conscious routines. William Gicker, creative director of Stamp Development, says the intention was to send the message that change begins with each one of us, and it takes small, everyday steps to make our world a greener place. Learn more about the stamps here

The stamps are encouraging us all to go green, but they are also pretty green themselves. They, along with almost 100% of USPS packaging materials, are recyclable. And the Postal Service's Read, Respond, Recycle program provides a convenient way to recycle mail right in some post office lobbies. Last year, USPS recycled 222,000 tons of material.

In select locations, the USPS has also made free mail-back envelopes available for recycling printer cartridges, cell phones and other small electronics. And you can order free eco-friendly boxes and packaging for your shipping needs through the online postal store.

The Postal Service's green initiatives go beyond recycling, however. The USPS publicly reports its greenhouse gas emissions and its “footprint” is only one-twentieth of one percent of total greenhouse emissions in the United States. Fuel and water conservation efforts are also underway at all levels of the Postal Service. 
The USPS is considering global impact from the beginning of the manufacturing process and with the help of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) has achieved the Silver Level of Cradle to Cradle Certification. See exactly what that means here. 
According to MBDC, the USPS has been honored with over 70 awards for energy reduction since 1995 for recycling and waste prevention programs, incorporation of recycled content in packaging, and use of alternative fuels within vehicles and facilities across the nation. See more about these companies and their partnership here
Look for more tips on going green on the USPS web site here, and pick up your own Go Green forever stamps to help raise environmental awareness in your part of the world. 

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