The United States Postal Service (USPS) has engaged in a sustainability push over the past several years. Many of their efforts have been documented on their website. In addition, the USPS launched their Go Green stamp collection, which was released in April of this year. Consisting of 16 stamps (available for purchase online), the pane features a multitude of messages that promote environmentally sound practices such as “Plant Trees”. Most of the practices will even save you a little green, including: line drying clothes, turning up the thermostat in the summer/down in the winter, and carpooling.
“Go Green, a pane of 16 stamps, is the Postal Service’s social awareness issue for 2011. Award-winning animator, filmmaker, and illustrator Eli Noyes worked with Art Director Derry Noyes on his first stamp project, using a colorful, playful style to convey the message that every American can take simple actions to conserve energy and improve the environment.” One stamps’ extra features is that they are “forever stamps”, a nice bonus in the world of increasing postage costs.
The first green roof to grace a post office complex is in New York City. In fact, the green roof is the largest in the city according to the USPS. The website mentions that “Back in ’99, USPS tested the electric vehicle for mail pickup in Buffalo, New York. That was 1899 — when most of the organization’s horsepower was provided by actual horses.” Furthermore, the USPS has a growing number of electric vehicles and was the first federal agency to make their greenhouse gas emissions report publicly available.
In New York City, the Postal Service has had 30 electric 2-ton vehicles on the street since 2001. They were recently joined in Long Island, NY, by two 2-ton hybrid electric vehicles. And we’re running a dozen three-wheeled electric plug-in vehicles in California, Arizona and Florida.
In December 2009, five companies were selected for a pilot program to convert USPS gasoline engine Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) to electric.
In an effort to reduce fuel consumption and its carbon footprint, USPS sends all of its mail via existing airplane routes, either with commercial airlines or through FedEx, thus eliminating the expense of maintaining its own aircraft.
Virtually 100 percent of what USPS produces is fully recyclable: stamps, envelopes, and packages. USPS also helps customers recycle all the mail attached to those stamps. In addition, USPS has the first cradle to cradle certified packaging material.
In 2009 the USPS implemented the “Read, Respond, Recycle” program. Through the program USPS recycled 222,000 tons of material last year — up 8,000 tons from 2009.
While getting rid of junk mail would be ideal, it is possible. Whether one decides to use a service or do it themselves, there are several resources available. These include Ecocyle.org’s list of ten easy steps to getting rid of junk mail to an MSNBC article from a few years back replete with addresses and websites to help one take control of their mailbox.