Post office orders ‘green’ packages

From Times Wire Services

The U.S. Postal Service is requiring vendors to use environmentally friendly materials to create envelopes and packages that carry 500 million Priority Mail and Express Mail shipments annually.

Packaging-products suppliers including Bell Inc. must use materials that can be recycled and won’t harm the environment, Postmaster Gen. John E. Potter said. The changes apply to 10 direct suppliers and 200 makers of products such as glue, ink and paper.

“We wanted to get to the point where everything was recyclable, where it wasn’t going to cause any damage to the ozone layer,” Potter said.

In 2006, the Postal Service saw more than $6 billion in revenue from Priority and Express mail, spokeswoman Joanne Veto said. The Postal Service, which builds the cost of Express and Priority mail packaging into its shipping price, spent about $114 million on the packages themselves last year, Veto said.