Sunday, May 24, 2015

Skip the Sat mail ... and the Philly cab TVs

Both take energy that could be better used elsewhere.

Skip the Sat mail ... and the Philly cab TVs

Oh, goody. The mail just came. Let’s see......

  • PennDOT wants money for car registration.
  • Bloomingdale’s wants me to spend money in their store.
  • The Library of Congress wants me to buy tickets to a concert.
  • A vision company wants me to buy their eyeglasses.
  • The bank has sent something-or-other.
  • An insurance company is just staying in touch.


One day is much the same as the other, except I get pleasant notes from my Mom on occasion.

So will I miss Saturday mail delivery? Not hardly.

But more importantly, I have high hopes that the U.S. Postal Service’s decision to stop Saturday deliveries, except for packages, will lower not just costs, but also the emissions associated with mail delivery. And that it will lower the postal service’s carbon footprint.

Sadly, I don’t think the service has a firm handle on that just yet. They're still calculating.

But a spokeswoman did concur that "in 2010, when we began talking about the possibility of 5-day mail delivery in earnest, fuel costs and fleet reduction were key points because we were proposing eliminating Saturday delivery completely."

But now that they're going to continue delivering packages, the savings won't be as much, so neither will the reduction of the carbon footprint and other environmental effects.


Consider: The USPS pays $1 billion a year to fuel what is said to be the largest civilian vehicle fleet — more than 213,000 of them.

They travel 1.2 billion miles in a year.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see the calculations, whenever they're finished. The postal service has been serious about its greening efforts, including ramping up recycling, incorporating vehicles that use alternative fuels. They’ve been reducing energy and water use.

According to a press release, the postal service saved $52 million in 2012 through its greening efforts.

You can read more about it here:

Which brings us to another issue involving energy use and vehicles: Philly’s cabs. There’s a proposal to mount televisions in them.

I’ve heard from plenty of people who are aghast at the proliferation of televisions, the visual litter accosting them at gas stations and in grocery store lines. And now, a 10-minute ride cross-town will have somone on the screen yapping at you as well, and using precious energy to do it. Plus the energy to manufacture the TVs.

Count me out.

Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
Latest Health Videos
Also on
letter icon Newsletter