Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night may stay the couriers of the United States Postal Service from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, but the overwhelming popularity of electronic mail has certainly put a damper on things.
In a report titled “Delivering The Future: A Balanced Approached” the USPS reported that the volume of mail delivered has plummeted rapidly, from 213 billion pieces in 2007 to 177 billion pieces in 2009. Volume is expected to continue to fall to 150 billion pieces by the end of the decade.
As a result, the USPS has proposed the elimination of regular Saturday mail delivery to street addresses as part of a comprehensive plan to ensure that it can continue to deliver affordable service to American people and businesses, while also reducing it’s significant carbon footprint.
Reducing street delivery would save anywhere from 315,000 to 503,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the same as removing 60,000 to 96,000 cars from the roadways.
The amount of emissions that could be eliminated represents 3-5 percent of USPS’s total 2007 emissions from facilities, owned vehicles and contract transportation, which totaled 11.2 million metric tons.
Although the USPS only recently issued its first sustainability report, it has been working on greening the national delivery of mail for years. In 2007, it became the only mailing or shipping company in the nation to achieve “Cradle to Cradle” Certification at the Silver level from MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry) for human and environmental health.
The Postal Service will continue to work closely with customers to prepare for five-day delivery, and will provide at least six months notice prior to implementing the change, which would not occur until mid-2011 at the earliest.
Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - carbonnyc