By Daniel Poor aka Stl_Cardinals_Fan

Even with all the talk about “going green” or being “eco-friendly” that ideal can be lost on collectors. Has anyone given thought to how “un-green” (to make up a word) sports cards can be? Purchase a case and think about the following: the case comes shrink-wrapped on a pallet with other cases. One’s case is in a cardboard box. Inside that cardboard box are 12 or so smaller cardboard boxes each of which is shrink-wrapped again in plastic. Inside those boxes are 20-30 packs, each a foil/Mylar pack. Then think about how one will likely put most of the cards in plastic penny sleeves or top loaders, further adding to the problem. While this may make collecting out to be a terribly wasteful hobby, rest assured there are some ways the collector can help the environment and still partake in your favorite hobby.

Using the three Rs of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, we’ll start collectors on their way to becoming “green”. First we’ll start with reducing. A simple way to help the environment is to simply reduce a few small things in one’s collecting routine. Starting with simply reduce the number of trips one makes to the post office. No, I’m not telling collectors to become less active. Simply select one or two days and make those the “go to the post office” days. Not only will this cutback save one’s time, but it will also save money on gas, as well as helping the environment as one won’t be putting near the amount of exhaust into the air as before.

One can also reduce the amount of “frills” used in one’s packaging. Instead of packing a plethora of packing peanuts into that box or bubble mailer, only use a small amount. Instead of labels, just write the addresses on; unless your handwriting is terrible this is a great tip. Instead of coating the mailers in tape, use only a little piece on the seal to help prevent unexpected opening and tampering. Instead of printing invoices, use a smaller piece of paper, a sticky note for example, and write the transaction information on there.

Now that we’ve reduced, let’s move on to reusing. This one is self-explanatory, though oftentimes overlooked. Reuse whatever possible. Rather than ripping open a bubble mailer, use scissors and cut them open so that they can be reused later. Save top loaders, penny sleeves, dummy cards, and other supplies that are received and reuse them in your own mailings. Save the weekend paper and use it to pack boxes tight, or to make bubble mailers more secure. Reusing supplies can also help you reduce trips to the office supply store, card shop, and other places that would ordinarily be stopped at.

Finally, one can also recycle. This is the biggest and most frequently used tip in helping people become eco-friendly. Instead of throwing away the cardboard boxes, pack wrappers, newspaper packaging, packing peanuts, and whatever else is normally pitched into the wastebasket around one’s house, start a recycling box to take to one’s local recycling centre. Recycling is a big way to go green, so much in fact, that it ties in with reducing and reusing. By recycling one can reduce trash and pollution that ends up in a landfill. Also by recycling one is helping to ensure that what one is recycling gets reused again.