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Sending an e-card is an easy, environmentally sound method of communicating with friends and family that circumvents the perils of paper production and landfill waste associated with traditional greeting cards.

Find it! E-card services

Although they might make your postal carrier’s sack feel a tad lonesome and render the art of old-fashioned letter writing irrelevant, eco-friendly e-cards are a great way to save resources and a few bucks on postage, to boot. These virtual stationery stores are excellent places to find an inbox missive, whether you’re looking to mark a birthday or Bat Mitzvah, bon voyage or new baby.

Before you buy

A word to the wise: there are certain situations in which e-cards just won't do. For instance, if you've got a great aunt without Internet, stick with paper cards and notes. For wedding invites and notes of sympathy, avoid being considered tactless and send out correspondence via snail mail. You can still green these communications by choosing recycled and tree-free stationary and cards.

Sending an e-card helps you go green because…

  • It prevents traditional paper greeting cards from adding to the mass of paper and paper products that make up about 40 percent of the municipal waste stream.
  • It preserves virgin timber resources, protecting forests and the wildlife living in them.
  • It conserves fossil fuels and curbs the pollution emitted when a consumer drives to a drugstore, stationery store, supermarket, or mall to buy a traditional paper greeting card. The fuel consumption/emission associated with getting a card from point A to point B is also eliminated.

Americans buy almost 7 billion greeting cards annually, representing close to $7.5 billion in retail sales.[1] Like most forms of paper, greeting cards impact the environment adversely during their disposal and production alike, initially consuming virgin resources (trees, water, fuel) before ending up in landfills as part of the approximately 83 million tons of paper waste generated by Americans each year.[2] The fewer greeting cards purchased to begin with, the less their environmental impact. If all Americans trimmed their card list by only one card, the savings would amount to 50,000 cubic yards of paper.[3]

It's estimated that (paid) e-cards represented .07 percent of the total greeting card market in 2003 with sales of $52 million. The low percentage is due to the fact that popular sites like Hallmark.com offer e-cards free of charge. Another possible factor: many consider it inappropriate to send cards via the Internet to mark certain events.

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