Another Reason To Support Direct Mail-It's Green by ProQuest

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According to the study, the life cycle of letter mail can be divided into six stages: mail design; manufacturing the writing paper and envelopes; production of the letter; distribution of the letter; use; and the disposal of the letter. All six of these stages should be examined in the calculation of mail's environmental impact.

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                                                                FEATURE
                                                                                               Another Reason To Support
                                                                            By Paul Robbertz
                                                                                               Direct Mail—                                  It’s Green
                                                                          Additional data is needed to pinpoint mail’s true environmental impact, but it’s in the range of 50 grams of CO2 per
                                                                          piece, according to the first study ever on the issue. The new research demonstrates that leisure and other everyday
                                                                          activities—watching television, taking a trip, or running a clothes dryer, dishwasher, or refrigerator—account for
                                                                          most of a consumers’ total carbon footprint.

                                                                          The Environmental Impact of Mail: A Baseline, published by Pitney Bowes, is a comprehensive review of existing
                                                                          or published data on the value chain of mail from a variety of sources including regulatory agencies, not-for-profits,
                                                                                                            and U.S. and international postal services. Using these sources, it establishes a
                                                                                                            baseline of mail’s environmental impact, compares it with the CO2 output of
                                                                                                            everyday human activities, and recommends a set of key “next steps” for the
                                                                                                            mailing industry to be even more environmentally responsible.

                                                                                                             This new study on mail is published at a time when all industries are under
                                                                                                             intense pressure to take more action on climate change and lessen their envi-
                                                                                                             ronmental impact. The individual impact of mail on the environment has been
                                                                                                             inflated by misguided environmentalist groups and proponents of a Do Not Mail
                                                                                                             registry, which aims to dismantle how and which types of mail are delivered to
                                                                                                             consumer’s doorsteps.

                                                                                                             The ramifications of this registry—which would eliminate approximately 8.4
                                                                                                             million jobs nationwide and halt the $1 trillion economic activity of the mail-
                                                                                                             ing and printing industry—have not been considered. This new research by
                                                                                                             Pitney Bowes enables individuals, companies, and industry associations to
                                                                                                             have a public dialogue based on fact, rather than perception. It contributes to
                                                                                                             a centralized and standardized set of data that is necessary to calculate mail’s
                                                                                                             environmental impact.

                                                                                                             According to the study, the life cycle of letter mail can be divided into six stages:
                                                                                                             mail design; manufacturing the writing paper and envelopes; production of the
                                                                                                             letter; distribution of the letter; use; and the disposal of the letter. All six of these
                                                                                                             stages should be examined in the calculation of mail’s environmental impact.
                                                                                                             Although this study examines the CO2 emissions of mail across all six of these
                                                                                                             dimensions, the primary focus is in the fourth stage of mail’s life cycle, which is
                                                                                                             the post’s responsibility to collect, sort, and deliver mail to customers.

                                                                                                             There are two areas within the post’s CO2 emissions that are crucial to measur-
                                                                                                             ing and understanding their carbon footprints: facility resources, and transporta-
                                                                                                             tion resources.
PRINTING NEWS, MONDAY, November 24, 2008 www.printingnews.com




                                                                                                             Facility resources include the postal retail and mail handling facilities, and sort-
                                                                                                             ing equipment, primarily in the form of heat and electricity. Transportation
                                                                                                             resources include the fuel emissions associated with the collection, inter-postal
                                                                                                             facility transportation, and final transportation to the customer. The importance
                                                                                                             of minimizing carbon emissions in these areas are reinforced as global posts are
                                                                                                             currently working toward improved efficiency in vehicle fleets and buildings.
                                                                                                             The U.S. Postal Service is also working on a comprehensive Life Cycle Inventory
                                                                                                             that will introduce new data on the carbon footprint of mail.

                                                                                                             In the study, initial estimates of CO2 per mail piece are used to compare mail
                                                                                                             with everyday household activities. How does mail stack up? Consider this:
                                                                                                             running a single refrigerator for a year is equivalent to the creation and delivery
                                                                                                             of 5,000 letters; taking a two-minute shower is equivalent to receiving 40 letters;
                                                                                                             running an electric water heater for a year is about the same as 20,000 letters
                                 
								
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