Encouraged by green prospects, pushed by the DMA and sometimes impelled from within (perhaps to simply slim down a package), many mailers already have begun to test into green packages. Some, however, don’t know where to begin. So, whether you consider these baby steps or giant leaps, here are three ways to create the green mail piece.
1. Make a New Year’s resolution
As if hit by a green tidal wave, many direct mailers feel overwhelmed by the new information. Fortunately, the DMA helps with two significant resource materials. First is the DMA Environmental Resource for Direct Marketers (www.the-dma.org/environmentguide), updated in 2004 and available for download from its Web site. “If you want to educate yourself on what’s happening and what’s being discussed and what the issues are, the appendix in that book will give you endless armchair resources,” says Meta Brophy, director of publishing operations at Consumers Union and a member of an action committee that helped produce the book.
The second resource is the DMA’s Environmental Planning Tool (www.the-dma.org/envgen), available on its Web site only recently. In May 2007, the DMA’s board of directors passed an environmental resolution to put members on the path of continuous environmental improvement in five key areas — list hygiene and data management; mail design and production; paper procurement and use; packaging; and recycling and pollution reduction — all of which relate to the mail package.
2. Start a better paper trail
Buying paper with high postconsumer recycled content helps reduce global warming pollution, saves forests, conserves water, reduces emission of toxic air pollutants, supports municipal recycling collection programs and diverts usable materials from incinerators and landfills. “When buying paper, first maximize postconsumer recycled content, then ensure that any remaining virgin wood fiber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as sustainably harvested,” urges Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in San Francisco.