Postage Stamps, Like Shipping Supplies, Better for Mother Earth

Stamps, Stamped Products Cradle to Cradle Certified

WASHINGTON — For more than two centuries, the U.S. Postal Service has issued postage stamps and postal stationery to portray the American experience to a world audience. Now, those stamps and stamped products are Cradle to Cradle Certified CM.

Products meet Cradle to Cradle requirements when every ingredient tested is either biodegradable or recyclable, when their toxicity is 100 parts per million or less, and when company operations are powered by renewable energy and consider people and ecosystems.

“Our Cradle to Cradle products are designed to be safe and environmentally responsible,” said Sam Pulcrano, vice president, Sustainability. “In 2009, the Postal Service provided one billion eco-friendly mailing and shipping supplies to our customers. Now, 27 billion stamps and stamped products join our Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM product line.”

The Postal Service is the only mailing and shipping company worldwide to provide packaging supplies that are Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM. To achieve this designation for its stamps and stamped products, more than 175 materials used by the agency’s 58 suppliers were assessed and met requirements by MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry) for:

* Impact on human and environmental health.
* Recyclability/compostability and recycled/renewable content.

In addition, the product manufacturing processes were evaluated for:

* Renewable energy use.
* Water stewardship.
* Social responsibility.

“The Postal Service is working hard to create a culture of conservation among our nearly 600,000 employees,” Pulcrano said. “Our Cradle to Cradle Certification and other green practices are widely recognized. They include our recycling and mail-back programs, green purchasing programs, and energy efficient facilities, including our green roof in New York City.”

The Postal Service’s sustainability initiatives decrease greenhouse gases and save money and resources. A number of the agency’s recent successes include:

* a 10.8 trillion reduction in British thermal units (Btu) in facility energy use since 2005.
* $400 million in savings in energy costs since 2007.
* $314 million in savings due to reduced contracted transportation fuel use.
* 10 million saved sheets of paper through Human Resources online initiatives.
* a 2-cent-per-mile cost to operate three-wheeled electric delivery vehicles.

The Postal Service has won more than 75 environmental awards, including 40 White House Closing the Circle, 10 Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Partner of the Year, Climate Action Champion, Direct Marketing Association Green Echo, and the Postal Technology International Environmental Achievement of the Year, 2009.

For more information about USPS green initiatives, visit and the green newsroom.