With the Census Bureau reporting that over 76% of working Americans still drive to work alone and spend over 100 hours a year commuting, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has issued the Go Green Forever stamps promoting ride sharing, public transportation and 14 other simple steps all Americans can take to conserve energy and improve air quality.
Calling ride sharing and public transportation "easy ways" to save fuel and cut back on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Thomas Day, USPS chief sustainability officer, noted that the USPS itself had become much "greener" recently. "From fiscal years 2008 to 2010, we reduced our total greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent, the equivalent of taking more than 204,000 passenger vehicles off the road for an entire year," he said in a press release.
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According to the USPS, the semi-independent agency has succeeded in reducing the commuting-related GHG emissions produced by its own workforce through encouraging its more than 671,000 employees to carpool and use public transportation whenever possible.
"Postal Service employees take pride in conserving fuel, energy and other resources," Day added. "More than 400 Lean Green teams work to implement low- and no-cost ways to conserve natural resources and reduce costs, and they helped USPS save more than $5 million in fiscal year 2010 alone. Leaner, greener, faster and smarter is our sustainability call to action. It's environmentally responsible and a good business decision."
About the Stamps: Ride sharing and public transportation are just two of the environmental and conservation topics depicted on the 16 Go Green Forever stamps.
Designed by San Francisco artist Eli Noyes, the Go Green stamps illustrate things everyone can do to save energy and improve air quality from fixing leaky faucets and recycling plastics, to planting trees, composting and keeping tires properly inflated.
Action items on the stamps include examples such as fixing a leaky faucet, which can save thousands of gallons of water per year, and installing the simplest insulation, like caulking or weather stripping, which can pay for itself in reduced utility bills within 1 year. In fact, insulating the home is one of the best things anyone can do for the environment since homes consume about a fifth of all energy used in the U.S. -- more than cars or planes -- and typically a third of this energy is wasted by escaping through cracks and poorly sealed areas.
Other actions featured on the stamps include adjusting thermostats, which can reduce utility bills by as much as 10 percent if turned down a few degrees in the winter and up during the summer, and planting a tree next to a home, which cuts cooling costs by providing shade during the summer and reduces winter heating costs by supplying a windbreak.
Many of the tips offered on these stamps -- like turning out lights when leaving a room, or riding a bike instead of driving -- are things people may be doing already. Others, like composting, may require more of a commitment. These stamps highlight how taking small steps such as the ones depicted here can add up to big savings in energy, resources, and costs.
The Go Green Forever stamps are part of the more than 26 billion Cradle to Cradle Certified postage products handled annually by the U.S. Postal Service intended to promote environmental awareness and action.
For collectors, the 44-cent Go Green Forever stamps are sold in commemorative panes of 16 as depicted above for $7.04.
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Once they are purchased, Forever stamps are always valid as First-Class postage on standard envelopes weighing one ounce or less, regardless of any subsequent increases in the First-Class postage rate.
First-Day-Of-Issue Ceremony: The Go Green stamps were dedicated on April 14, 2011, at the Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School and the adjoining Savoy Elementary School, Washington, DC, due to the schools' Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified gymnasium and the largest green garden in the Washington, DC, school system.
"We're creating a culture of conservation at the Postal Service that will have a lasting impact in our workplace and our communities," said Ronald A. Stroman, Deputy Postmaster General at the dedication ceremony. "The Go Green stamps carry 16 simple, green messages that have the power to help make the world a better place for us and future generations."
USPS an Environmental Star: Despite its financial woes, the U.S. Postal Service has a long history of environmental awareness. Over the years, USPS 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 awards, Postal Technology International Environmental Achievement of the Year and Climate Registry Gold Status Recognition.