There are plenty of Earth-friendly options for sending party invites, a graduation gift or wedding present. Here are a few tips to green your mailing and shipping, ensuring that commemorating those special occasions has a minimal impact on the environment.
Much like the December holiday season, late spring and early summer are full of parties, graduations, weddings and other card-sending, gift-giving occasions. Sending packages by mail, however, often requires large amounts of packing materials. And as anyone who has set up a gift registry in the era of online shopping can attest, this modern convenience comes with enormous amounts of cardboard and wrapping that require disposal. Fortunately, there are plenty of Earth-friendly options for sending party invites, a graduation gift or wedding present. Here are a few tips to green your mailing and shipping, ensuring that commemorating those special occasions has a minimal impact on the environment.
When sending a package …
Cardboard boxes are easy to recycle and even easier to reuse. Get in the habit of stashing small- and medium-sized boxes in a closet so you have one ready to send. Yesterday’s newspaper makes a great cushion for your item.
Padded envelopes lined with bubble wrap can be difficult to recycle. Use a plain envelope padded with old cloth or newspaper, or look for alternatives like Caremail’s padded mailers made from eco-friendly materials.
If at all possible, avoid using the polystyrene “packing peanuts” that often come inside a box. They’re extremely messy and, more importantly, notoriously difficult to recycle. Versions made of cornstarch or potato starch are a much better option — they dissolve in water.
When sending a card…
It’s not uncommon to send out an invitation by e-mail or Facebook for casual get-togethers. But for formal gatherings, virtual invitations have become increasingly sophisticated. You can send the classic Evite (www.evite.com), and services like Paperless Post (www.paperlesspost.com) offer invitations and announcements that give the look of customized expensive stationery, delivered straight to your guests’ computer screen via a startlingly lifelike, personally addressed envelope. With prices starting at about $4 for 20 invitations, it’s even cheaper than standard postage.
If you prefer the heft of an actual envelope, recycled paper cards and invitation options abound. Traditionally, cards made from recycled paper have a more rustic feel, but you can find very sophisticated designs printed on 100 percent recycled paper. Just look for the recycling emblem on the back of the card.
DID YOU KNOW
The U.S. Postal Service delivered 177 billion pieces of mail in 2009, and UPS delivered 3.8 billion packages and documents. In addition to all that paper, think about the resources used by the vehicles that transport and deliver these items.