We've already seen the United States Postal Service making aggressive attempts to reduce its energy bills, and MSNBC has recently brought us news about Cradle to Cradle going mainstream. However, it wasn't until we got chatting to the Cradle to Cradle folks from MBDC at the recent Wal-Mart Sustainability Summit that we discovered that they had been working with the USPS on greening their supply chain. As a result of the partnership, all Express Mail and Priority Mail packages and envelopes supplied by the service now meet Cradle to Cradle Silver certification.
More than 60 packaging items were examined, breaking those items down to 250 component materials and then further analyzing 1,400 individual ingredients. These were then assessed according to various criteria ranging for human and environmental health, including toxicity, renewable energy, water stewardship, recyclability and other manufacturing attributes. The postal service claims this initiative alone will save the equivalent 15,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Bill McDonough, co-founder of MBDC, had this to say:
"We are very excited by the launch of Cradle to Cradle certified Express Mail and Priority Mail packaging. I would like to recognize the Postal Service's leadership in gaining Cradle to Cradle Certification, being on a positive trajectory to becoming more sustainable, and helping their customers make smarter choices. This is the first major
national and international product to gain MBDC's certification that is used by consumers every day,"
This kind of mainstreaming of rigorous environmental criteria, above and beyond current legislation, is a huge step towards a more sustainable society. Given the fact that USPS provides its customers with more than 500 million Express Mail and Priority Mail envelopes and packages a year, there will be an awful lot of people whose lives will be that little bit greener thanks to this initiative. ::USPS::via MBDC::via Wal-Mart Live Better Sustainability Summit::