The short and sweet answer is yes.
One of those "will-you or won't-you?" questions this season may well be around holiday greeting cards. Sending no cards at all is obviously the greenest option, but not very festive. If you've always sent paper-based cards, you may feel that guilty tug to continue the tradition. If you are dedicated to sending e-cards...continue! Which type of greeting is greener - e-cards or paper-based? That question's not quite as fraught with difficulty as the old "paper versus plastic" conundrum. E-cards are more energy-efficient than paper cards. However, having options is always good, so hit the jump to see two great choices.
FSC recycled-paper cards
Cards like those by Pleasantrees are not only made with recycled-content (30 and up to 100%) but also FSC-certified paper. Pleasantrees also promises it will plant THREE trees (through American Forests, i.e. in the U.S.) for each order of cards purchased. (Minimum price for cards is around $1.99 each and up if individualized messages are printed inside the cards). That's a pretty good deal if you must send cards from your business, and Pleasantrees has lots of different motifs to choose from.
However, paper cards, even if they are 100% recycled-content and/or from FSC paper, generate CO2 emissions associated not only with the making of the paper, and the sending of the product to you, but also with you sending the individual cards out. Creative Citizen estimates you'll save five pounds of waste, 1,000 pounds of emissions and 1,000 kilowatt hours if you forgo sending 50 cards or invites in a year.
E-Cards save energy, rainforests, bees!
We use the same 50-card quantity to estimate and compare the energy, emissions and waste of e-cards. If you are sending 50 cards, that will probably take approximately 2-5 minutes per card to pick and address, so let's estimate 2-3 hours of computer usage time to send out the cards. According to Mr. Electricity, the average laptop computer uses 65 - 250 watts. The calculator at the Mr. Electricity site shows a laptop using about the equivalent of .1 kWh for 150 minutes of usage, and an average of 1.37 lbs CO2/hour. Those 3-4 lbs of CO2 and pennies of electricity are dwarfed by the amounts Creative Citizen calculates, even if the comparisons are only approximately equivalent.
For a wide selection of holiday-themed e-cards, head over to care2, where each card generates a donation by the organization to "save" a square foot of rainforest. It is a little hard to know whether a square foot of rainforest is better than three trees, but an e-card is definitely more eco than a paper card.
If you are going for an e-cards, perhaps you'd like to give just a little bit more to those special people...and donate to teach 58 children in Gambia the art of beekeeping? Or send a goat to Haitians? GlobalGiving lets you decide the amount of the gift, which is nice, and then sends an e-card to the recipient and lets them choose a project to donate the money to. Happy holiday making. Via: Pleasantrees and Care2 and GlobalGiving
Plant a Tree With Tree Greetings
Saving the World One Paperless Greeting Card at a Time
Red Stamp Introduces New Greeting Cards by Round Robin Press