Going Green with University Mail Services

University Mail Services isn’t University Email Services just yet, but that doesn’t mean they are a nineteenth century operation. Mail Services is a modern operation, and has been working diligently for the past few years to align themselves with President Seligman’s commitment to sustainability. As part of that effort they’ve invested in electric transportation, honed their printing processes, and expanded their recycling program.

Mail Services runs 6 cargo vans, each getting an average 8 mpg. Or rather, they were, up until just a few years ago. With the University expanding, Mail Services was faced with a need for added capacity. To meet this new demand they could have ordered another cargo van with the same 8 mpg efficiency. But Mark Goodrich, Manager of University Mail Services, saw this as an opportunity to lessen Mail Services’ environmental impact. In 2008, Mail Services purchased a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, a Segway, and a MILES electric truck. With these new purchases, they were able to take two of their cargo trucks off the road. Combined with a new walking route, University Mail Services is now able to serve a larger community with less fuel.

Mail Services' Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The changes are deeper than simply counting MPGs; by rethinking their routes, and trying a walking route, Mail Services has been able to keep vehicles off the road. Think of it as avoided miles. Using the right vehicle for the right job has made a significant difference. Take the electric truck, for example. By making careful choices about when to use it or to use a cargo van, Mail Services estimates it’s taken 10,000 miles per year off of the cargo van. At 8 mpg, that’s 1,250 gallons of gasoline not being purchased and burned by the University. Looking at that another way, Mail Services could use that much gas to drive their Hybrid across the country and back three and one-half times.

Perhaps Mail Services is a misnomer. At least it seems insufficient. Beyond just sorting and sending mail, Mail Services offers printing, and these guys are the experts. Everyone knows the difference between high gloss and printer paper, but it’s something else to be able to recognize recycled paper at 100 yards. Hyperbole aside, Mail Services will print what you want, when you want, in exactly the amount you want. “Just send us your letterhead” says Goodrich, and they will print the exact amount from a database. What’s sustainable about this? Mail Services can match the number of prints with the exact number of envelopes. No waste, no mess. What could be better than that?