Towards a greener planet

A carbon-neutral postal operator is quite impressive, specially since 2011! And that they are now aiming for zero emissions is commendable too.

I wonder however how that applies in the context of international mail since they are not the ones delivering it and, thus, not in control of the emissions to deliver that mail, even if technically they are paying (the other operators) for that delivery. As with anything in this area, it gets complicated real fast.

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In my opinion the steps necessary to curb or reduce “climate change” will require much more than choosing a carbon neutral data center…My state California just banned gas powered cars by 2035 a mere 15 years from now…considering only 2-3% of cars in the US are battery powered a drastic change will be required in a short period of time…

Will Californians go along with this new mandate, I doubt it…

You see the necessary steps will require a drastic change in “quality of life”…

Who here are willing to rely on solar/wind exclusively for energy much less a world wide transportation system up ended (no aircraft etc) to become “green”…and what of nations that produce massive amounts of green house gasses (China/India)will they go along??? And if not how much of a difference will it make if its not a world wide effort…


It doesn’t necessarily need to be home production to use renewable energy sources (although it’s great if one can do it!). Our home electricity provider provides power from 100% renewable sources only: mostly from wind, some from solar, sometimes hydro — the exact mix varies and comes on the monthly invoice. It’s not particularly more expensive than other providers and as there’s an increasing demand for this, most providers are now offering the option.

How this is done and accounted for is complicated (after all, it call comes from the same cable right?) — it includes audits and certification processes and what not and I honestly don’t know the details. But as a consumer, it’s quite a simple option to choose from. At least it is here — I wonder how common this is in other countries?


Don’t forget having fewer or no children. That’s by far the most effective action. There are plenty of orphans and troubled children who need loving homes: better to adopt and foster children.


Well, the hard truth is that post (and thus Postcrossing) will never be “green” or sustainable. Either the postal materials; transportation supplies, equipment, and fuels; or the materials that go into energy transformation, transmission, and consumption will come from unsustainable sources (mines) or produce mounds of trash that the rest of the biosphere cannot consume. The truly green/environmentally-friendly solution is to not send post at all.

But since we’re here and we want to do this no matter what, the next best thing we can do is implement the solutions mentioned earlier. I suggest contributing 100%+ of the purchase price of materials and postage to reputable (that is, small and regional) organizations that buy and protect lands as wilderness or biological preserves that forbid development and prohibit or greatly restrict recreation. That’s what I do.

I support two such charities in the United States, my home country: The Northeast Wilderness Trust and The Southern Plains Land Trust. I also support organizations like Wilderness Watch that protect existing government-designated wildernesses (or try to make the government protect them as it should). Small groups like these are very effective and their staff are both passionate and always starving for money. Forget the big, famous green/environmental groups: They’re awash with corporate and foundation funds and are compromised or corrupt.


Look, Indonesian postcrossers from Makassar region doing mangroves planting today during the meetup



I found a topic regarding zero waste best practices in life, however, can you share your zero waste / low impact Postcrossing-related tips, please? Mine so far are:

  • Mechanical pencil is my main writing utensil (except for writing addresses and card codes). I was able to find refills by Muji and Kaweko that are not in plastic tubes. I am kind of curious about fountain pens, though. Are they worth exploring?

  • Love looking at stickers but very conservative when it comes to buying them. Just got tiny cute ones with about 50 stickers per sheet and hope this one will last me for a long time as a little decoration at the end of the postcard message.

  • I try to avoid postcards that come in clear sleeves.

  • I got a bit into drawing so have a few pencils of the colors I needed. I haven’t painted since childhood but would love try again and maybe make some cards. I see that one can buy individual watercolor paint in little blocks. Is that possible for gouache also?

  • It is fun to dig through boxes of cards at vintage stores and finding particularly interesting ones. That being said, I feel bad writing on the card itself as there are such fascinating details in the back like a place for “One Cent Stamp” etc. So, that is a minor source of cards for me.

Would appreciate your suggestions! Thank you!


I sometimes use a refillable ink pot and a dip pen for writing my postcards, in the beginning that was all I used, but now I often fall back on regular pens for convenience, perhaps I should pick up that habit again.


A couple of Postcrossers whose profiles I’ve seen recently had “upcycled” postcards in their preferences. I looked into that and it’s something everyone can do - take an attractive box that held food - and if it’s clean, and especially if the reverse side is light in color, you cut a postcard-sized section of it out and use that for postcards! Some people won’t appreciate it but some will, especially if you explain it in your note to them. Examples: Upcycling! | Flickr


If you want to look into fountain pens, I would recommend this video on the different filling mechanisms.
Fountain Pen Filling Systems - YouTube
I love a good fountain pen, but the non-cartridge ones can be messy, so if you want to avoid single-use plastic, maybe try a converter? And for the ink, in my experience it takes some trying out to find one that doesn’t smudge on postcards (especially the glossy ones). If you write addresses with it, I’d definitely look for waterproof ones.

Most gouache I know comes in tubes, but as it can be reactivated with water you can just fill it into a palette or the little squares. However, you’d still have to figure out whether it’s possible to recycle the tubes. There’s also something called jelly gouache, which does come in little containers, but it’s wet paint initially, as well.

If you don’t want to use stickers because of the waste maybe look into some pretty wooden stamps? Or you could try some calligraphy with the fountain pens?

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I have a feeling that we have so many regular pens around the house, the supply will last for the next couple of generations unless they dry out. :slight_smile: It looks like fountain pens would be good for drawing too - outlining certain elements, etc.

That is a great idea! Will keep an eye out for attractive packaging. This week we got sandwiches wrapped in such a pretty paper with logo of the deli. I saved a bit of it for potential Postcrossing creativity. :slight_smile:


Great ideas, thank you! Fountain pens and calligraphy are like a whole new universe to explore. And I am hoping to get some kind of minimal painting supplies and paint already! :slight_smile:


It’s a beautiful universe! But once you get sucked into it, it’s really hard getting out. :smiley: Here in Germany, we had to write in fountain pen in school, so most people know the basics, but it sure seems like it can be overwhelming if you don’t.

In terms of painting supplies, be sure to invest in some at least middle grade brushes. Low quality paint can work out decently, but low quality brushes are the worst.


We had to write with fountain pens too, and all I can remember from that is blue fingers!


Yes, blue smudges everywhere are part of the process :joy:
It’s actually quite the funny story: I wrote with the same model of fountain pen up to graduating the German equivalent of highschool/A-Levels. As with such heavy use they sometimes broke or got lost or something like that, I regularly had to buy new ones and in my final year or so they discontinued this specific model. So, I scoured the internet and bought every remaining pen I could find. I think, they’ll last me a lifetime :joy:


There’s a whole thread about it! And it’s lovely!

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A bit odd that no one has mentioned yet:

Buy cards from other postcrossers who might be reducing their card stock or quitting the hobby. Also philatelic sites/auctions have nice mint cards (also official maxicards which are hard to acquire in Finland, as Posti doesn’t issue them anymore).

Buy mint stamps from philatelic sites and auctions where they are often sold at a lower value than their actual value. I estimate that 60 % of my stamps are from a couple of philatelic sites and I must have saved hundreds of euros when it comes to stamps. Also the nice bonus is that the philatelic sites offer older still valid stamp that are out of print. :slight_smile:


In addition to what has already been mentioned above… :point_up_2:

If possible, buy postcards from local artists or local shops. Sometimes, especially living in smaller towns, this is difficult. Then buy postcards online from artists or shop in your country, or buy them when you are already travelling somewhere else. I always look for postcards when visiting another city or country.

Use public transportations when going to Postcrossing meetups. Take the bus or train if possible. Or if you have to take your car, see if there are other postcrossers in your area who want to share the ride :relaxed:

Don’t buy more than you can use. How long does a pen last? Of course that depends on how much/often you write. But if you have 100 pens in your house, it might be better to use them all before you buy new ones. Same goes for postcards. Yes, it’s fun to have a stock pile of blank postcards so that you have the “perfect” card for every profile. But it might be good to consider using what you already have before buying something new.


One thing that I don’t think was mentioned is if it is possible in your area is to recycle your pens once they have run out of their ink. In the US and Canada, most Staples have a bin where you can throw in your old pens. Maybe office supply stores in other countries have this option too. :slight_smile: