Like many of you out there, I’m trying my best to have a sustainability consciousness around the office. I put all my junk mail, opened envelopes, printed cover sheets and read magazines in the paper recycling bin. I try not to print out documents just to review them, although I must confess that I lose that battle frequently. I brought my biking water bottle from home so I can reduce the number of times I throw away a plastic cup each day. Food trash goes in the food trash can. Since my office has floor to ceiling windows, I can turn off the lights in my office for a good part of the day (of course my fellow co-workers think I must be sick!). But last week, I received a package in the U.S. mail that showed me I am not being very creative in finding new ways to be sustainable.
In my legal practice, it is not uncommon to receive large packages of original documents following a closing. Of course, the overnight couriers like FedEx and UPS are the standard fare, but typically the physical documents are not required immediately after the closing, so regular or certified mail will work just fine. Besides that, it’s cheaper than the overnight courier price. So, imagine my surprise when I received this envelope:
On the outside, the envelope was just a standard, heavy duty package containing a couple hundred pages of documents. But take a look at the inside, and you’ll see why I was “sustainably surprised” –
That’s right – this sender re-used a spent FedEx mailer by turning the envelope inside out. Of course, the fabric of this envelope is sturdy enough to be re-used many times, but two uses are more sustainable than one. I’ll have to recalibrate my sustainability thinking to catch up with this sender! What about you – what simple and novel sustainability ideas can you come up with?