Thursday, May 31, 2007

Priority Mail Delivery for Recycled Packaging

Lately, the United States Postal Service has been in the environmental hot seat. It has been facing a growing chorus of voices seeking a more effective, enforceable way to opt out of unwanted direct mail, a.k.a., junk mail.

But this week they made a notable step in the right direction environmentally. According to Postmaster General John Potter, the US Postal Service will begin using packaging made with recycled materials and take other steps to reduce its impact on the environment.

From Reuters: "Each year, the Postal Service hands out 500 million envelopes and boxes for its Priority and Express mail, its fastest delivery options.

By making those packages with recycled materials and using less ink and more biodegradable adhesives, the service hopes to keep more than 15,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change, out of the air."

Using their purchasing power to drive environmental innovation in paper products, they join a rapidly growing list of large institutions doing the same. The Post Office says it worked with over 200 suppliers on making the environmental and design improvements.


Mike said...

Thanks for the post! I was unaware of this announcement. That indeed is great news. It's nice to see organizations with lots of power and influence, like the USPS, going out of their way to make the world a little bit better and become a role model for how to reduce our impact on the environment. Kudos to the USPS for this decision.

rfahel said...

Do Not Mail Opt-Out Law would be fair to everyone.

The proposed recent "Do not mail" is an Opt-Out law. Only those not desiring advertising mail need opt-out. Anyone desiring advertising mail can do nothing - and continue to receive it. Why deny those wishing to avoid advertising mail the power to do so?

I do not consider handling unwanted advertising placed against my will on my personal property to be a civic obligation!

The US Supreme Court said in the Rowan case in 1970, ““In today's [1970] complex society we are inescapably captive audiences for many purposes, but a sufficient measure of individual autonomy must survive to permit every householder to exercise control over unwanted mail. To make the householder the exclusive and final judge of what will cross his threshold undoubtedly has the effect of impeding the flow of ideas, information, and arguments that, ideally, he should receive and consider. Today's merchandising methods, the plethora of mass mailings subsidized by low postal rates, and the growth of the sale of large mailing lists as an industry in itself have changed the mailman from a carrier of primarily private communications, as he was in a more leisurely day, and have made him an adjunct of the mass mailer who sends unsolicited and often unwanted mail into every home. It places no strain on the doctrine of judicial notice to observe that whether measured by pieces or pounds, Everyman's mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek from persons he does not know. And all too often it is matter he finds offensive.”

Furthermore, the Supreme Court said, “the mailer's right to communicate is circumscribed only by an affirmative act of the addressee giving notice that he wishes no further mailings from that mailer.

To hold less would tend to license a form of trespass and would make hardly more sense than to say that a radio or television viewer may not twist the dial to cut off an offensive or boring communication and thus bar its entering his home. Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit; we see no basis for according the printed word or pictures a different or more preferred status because they are sent by mail.”

We need a nationwide “Do Not Mail” law to create a one-stop, convenient place for homeowners to give senders the aforementioned affirmative notice that we do not want certain kinds of mail sent to our homes.

Ramsey A Fahel