Postal Service Exults at Elite Environmental Health Certification

The U.S. Postal Service announced May 30 that it has become the only mailing or shipping company in the United States to achieve "Cradle to Cradle" (SM) certification at the Silver level from McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry for human and environmental health. USPS said its mailing and shipping supplies already exceed EPA standards for recycled content and other federal standards, but this certification required more: It is awarded based on a scientific assessment of the environmental attributes of materials used in products. MBDC analyzed 60 packaging items and 1,400 ingredients during the process, USPS said.

All 200 suppliers who contribute to USPS's envelopes and packages completed assessments of materials for human and environmental health. "Maintaining these new, higher standards is now an integral part of doing business with the Postal Service," the agency said in its news release, adding that more than 500 million Express Mail and Priority Mail packages and envelopes are provided to its customers annually, and their use prevents the equivalent of more than 15,000 metric tons of carbon emissions per year.

"We are proud that the collaborative efforts of so many businesses, suppliers, and production companies will result in improved human and environmental health," said Postmaster General John E. Potter. "At the Postal Service, we continue to find innovative ways to help the environment without passing added costs onto our customers. Consumers will not see any change in price, service, or convenience." William McDonough, co-founder of MBDC, said, "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." For information about MBDC and the certification, visit and

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