Jan. 8 2008 01:24 PM


Red, White and Blue Goes Green!

Consumers can now send a very "green" message across town or around the world when they send their Priority Mail and Express Mail packages and envelopes. USPS has become the only mailing or shipping company in the nation to achieve "Cradle to Cradle" Certification at the silver level from MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry) for environmental health.


Expedited packaging supplies from USPS have always been a great value to shippers especially small businesses. The free boxes including flat-rate options can significantly reduce business shipping costs. For larger shippers, there's an added value that can save millions of dollars over the course of a single year: the opportunity to co-brand or customize free USPS packaging to fit their products.


Combine free packaging with Free Package Pickup available at www.usps.com/pickup/ and save a trip to the post office. Taking advantage of this service will cut down on fuel and emissions to help protect the environment.


USPS has always been a shipping industry leader in eco-friendliness. Shipping packages through the Postal Service eliminates carbon emissions and cuts down on fuel use. USPS already visits every address in the country every day, so delivering a package along our letter carriers' regular routes doesn't waste additional mileage by other shippers driving to locations where they normally don't deliver.


With its expedited package re-design earlier this year, USPS eliminated separate lines of packaging for international shipping. Customers can now use the same free boxes and envelopes for both domestic and international destinations. All USPS expedited services whether going around the corner or around the globe offer free packaging options and are eco-friendly.


Combining domestic and international packaging also reduces the source materials required to manufacture our boxes and envelopes. Based on the recycled content of the more than 500 million Express Mail and Priority Mail packages and envelopes provided to our customers each year, over 15,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent emissions (climate change gasses) now will be prevented annually. The new packages both boxes and envelopes are all 100% recyclable.


Even before earning the Cradle To Cradle certification, the Postal Service's mailing and shipping supplies exceeded government requirements, including recycled content standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Strengthening our environmental leadership by surpassing these and other existing federal and state agency requirements was a key goal in seeking certification.


To earn the coveted Cradle to Cradle designation, USPS packaging was subjected to an extremely thorough, independent scientific review. MDBC examined 60 packaging items, breaking them down into 250 component materials and then further analyzing 1,400 individual ingredients in the component materials before awarding the certification.


All of the materials were examined using 39 criteria for human and environmental health, including toxicity, renewable energy, water stewardship, recyclability and many other attributes. To achieve the certification all 200 suppliers contributing to the manufacturing of the Postal Service's packaging had to undergo a demanding series of measurements and assessments, to ensure established high standards were met. The suppliers now must maintain the standards in order to continue doing business with USPS.


MBDC also worked with USPS to gain certification for an additional 200 million pieces of mailing supplies used each year, including analyzing the inks and adhesives used for decals, labels and packing tape.


With the effects of global warming and the amount of free landfill space declining every year, doing your part to protect the environment is not just the smart thing to do. It's the right thing to do. USPS has made it easy for everyone to color their package shipping "greener." Our packaging supplies help you save time, save money and save the planet!


Free expedited packaging supplies, including Express Mail, Priority Mail, Express Mail International, Priority Mail International and flat-rate boxes or envelopes, are available in post offices across the country or can be ordered online at www.USPS.com/business. To see how you can qualifying for free customized and co-branded versions of the packaging, check with your local Postmaster, USPS Small Business Specialist or USPS sales representative.


If you'd like to learn more about the Cradle to Cradle certification process, go to: www.mbdc.com or www.c2ccertified.com for more details.


Shoshana Grove works with USPS Package Services and has 27 years of experience as a letter carrier and also a Postmaster. Contact Shoshana at sgrove@usps.gov.