Drop in holiday card sending a positive for the environment

This holiday season, many consumers resolved to limit their spending, purchase American products and look for environmentally friendly products that could help reduce the use of natural resources during this time of year. While this all contributes positively to the green movement, a report by The National Retail Federation (NRF), conducted before the holiday season, found that a number of trends – brought on by economic problems and other larger market forces – could be contributing positively to environmental initiatives.

According to the report, consumers expected to allocate the smallest percentage of their budgets to the sending of holiday greeting cards when they were polled this December. The survey found that consumers expected less than 4 percent of their seasonal budget to go toward this expense, a sharp drop off from previous years.

Part of the reason for this shift is that more environmentally conscious consumers are sending their holiday greetings via email. This means that while the United States Postal Service will not be experiencing a strong revenue boost, its carrier vehicles may not have used as much fuel delivering these well wishes between friends and relatives.

In addition, Marianne Bickle, a retail expert and Forbes contributor, found that many neighborhoods chose not to decorate their homes this year with potentially energy-sucking adornments for their shrubs, trees and gutters. Still, due to the steep discounts offered by many stores, she indicated that the NRF report found that roughly 8 percent of consumer budgets were expected to go toward decorations.

Overall, these trends may help contribute positively by reducing America's reliance on foreign fuels until renewable energy can provide a suitable alternative. However, it remains to be seen that in the event of an economic upturn, consumers may revert to their old energy use habits in the future.

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