The Post Office is a bit of a monopoly, meaning there are not that many other choices, if you wish to post a conventional letter. However services like Pedal & Post (an eco courier that uses bicycle riders to deliver parcels) are becoming commonplace. It takes ar longer to post letters abroad (Scandinavia takes ages due to snow). And in Chile, post is so slow due to the Andes mountains, that people get on a bus and deliver the letter in person!
Use envelope reuse labels to send them on, bought from charities that support hedgehog rescue and humane research. You can also recycle used stamps to your favourite charity to sell on, through recycling for good causes (avoid animal-testing charities).
how to prevent (nearly) all junk mail
You can stop nearly all junk mail simply by not answering surveys or doing international lotteries. A good way to find culprits is to use a false name. If your name is John Smith, enter Mr John A Smith for one form, Mr John B Smith for another and so on. Then if bombarded with junk mail, you know who sold your name on. One campaigner wants posties to be able to sound the alert if they think elderly vulnerable people are being targeted with scam mail, as often they are the only ones aware. Also fill in forms to stop unaddressed junk mail.
ask Royal Mail to stop using rubber bands
The Post Office can also help by using paper belly bands for posties to hold letters together, as the present red bands (used in their millions) get wrapped around hedgehogs or ducks feed them to ducklings (thinking they are worms). One man found one in his cat litter tray and say the Post Office (like everyone else) should be fined for littering.
recycle your stamps for good causes
Recycling for Good Causes lets you donate unwanted mobile phones (don’t bin them, they leak toxins) to any small local cause. Just pop in an A5 envelope (with unwanted jewellery, coins, stamps) and write the name of your chosen cause on the downloadable label. Order a free sack for large collections, free when it meets required weight.
switch to plastic-free wrapping tape
Paper tape biodegrades after use and works as well, with no mounds of tangled sticky tape. Brand name Sellotape was created during World War II to protect windows from bomb damage and seal ammunition boxes. But most versions have plastic (be careful of ‘greenwash’ as some tapes claim they are plastic-free when made from cellulose (wood pulp), but this does not guarantee being plastic-free. Don’t send plantable cards to homes with pets (due to toxic wildflowers).
For business, Flexi-Hex is a great alternative to plastic bubble wrap. You can use it to send any kind of fragile gift from spectacles to glass bottles and surfboards. It’s made from 85% recycled paper pulp, but uses a special hexagonal design to make it strong. It’s DPD-approved and expands up to 35 times to pass various ‘drop tests’ to make it the packaging of choice for eco companies sending goods. There’s a special lightweight ‘air’ version for smaller items. Just stretch the sleeve to accommodate items, then close at both ends using paper tap, then compost at end of use.
what’s the Post Office scandal all about?
You’ve likely heard on the news about the Post Office Scandal, which was recently turned into a TV series called Mr Bates vs the Post Office. Due to faulty software, over 900 subpostmasters were falsely accused of fraud and theft, with the Post Office carrying out 700 prosecutions with 100 since overturned and the government issuing a full apology and cancellation of the others.
In November 2023, the Post Office finally lost its monopoly on delivering parcels from post office sites. A monopoly is never good, as it means nobody can fairly compete and so prices can be set at whatever the post office wants. The Post Office even makes it very difficult to stop ‘unaddressed junk mail’ if you no longer want to receive it (you have to fill in oodles of forms online, when nearly no-one wants it). It should be opt-in instead, but Royal Mail makes too much money from companies that send it and waste around one tree per person each year.
There are many alternatives to sending parcels like InPost (an eco parcel locker service) but few alternatives to sending letters (in cities, you can often use bicycle couriers rather than vans). Of course, you could for business look at not sending paper mail at all, and just go totally digital.