Is the Royal Mail strike bad for the environment?

The postal strike is having an impact on EthicalSuperstore.com but I worry that the real loser in this will be the environment. We’ve had to suspend our cheapest delivery rate, but generally most parcels are being delivered by our friends at Parcel Force. However, the long term implications of a weakened Royal Mail are definitely bad for the environment.

Our postie—she’s actually a young woman—drops our letters and small packets off every day at home around 9am. She walks from the delivery depot with a small sack of letters and then collects the rest of her letters from strategically located pick up points round her route. It works because all letters in the UK outside of London are still delivered by the Royal Mail. She passes every house every day.

Now imagine a world where Royal Mail is weakened to the point where they no longer deliver to every house every day. Either we’ll all be driving to the sorting office to pick our mail up – 500 houses on our postie’s route might mean 500 more journeys each day by car!!!! Alternatively, lots of new van or car based delivery schemes get launched and we all get multiple deliveries each week from multiple companies. May be slightly less impact than us all driving places but ultimately much worse than the system we have now.

Postal delivery is an environmental issue. The government—the current owner of the Royal Mail—needs to focus less on preparing to sell it and more on building the service it has to be truly world class. We have cost effective, environmentally sensitive delivery to every home in the UK – do we really want to squander it?

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