For example, earlier this year National Envelope introduced a new Carbon Neutral Products Program that is available for all envelopes, after a complete carbon footprint analysis of the company was performed. In rendering its products carbon-neutral, National Envelope uses a cradle-to-gate process that includes all product and packaging materials, inbound transportation related to those materials, and the energy used to make the product.
Another environment-friendly manufacturing method to consider is closed-loop processing. EcoEnvelopes does not go below 30 percent recycled content in its products, and DeLaVergne says the life cycle of that paper can be four times, until it ends up in its final envelope incarnation at 100 percent postconsumer waste. Closed-loop processing essentially is mail going out and coming back (as part of the response chain) to be collected by the marketer's fulfillment shop, then sent to the paper mill that processes the paper back into fiber to be remade into recycled paper; the paper gets sold back to the marketer with a higher level of postconsumer waste content, and the marketer uses it to create its next direct mail campaign.
"This may make customers emotional about [mail], in good ways. So nothing hits the landfills, and fewer trees are being used. There will be a better feel to receiving mail because [people] trust the process to do something different. That's a plus for the company, the consumer, the mill, the post office and a big plus for the environment," concludes DeLaVergne.