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Blog > Towards a greener hobby, one tree at a time

Filling mailboxes all over the world with postcards fills us up with happiness… but it also has an impact on the planet. We are committed to running Postcrossing in an environmentally friendly way, and have been working on this goal over the years. Today we would like to update you all on our choices and initiatives, and invite you to join in as well!

To run an online platform like Postcrossing, we need servers. Since a few years ago, all our servers are running in a carbon-neutral datacenter in Europe, run by Amazon AWS. Their sustainability program builds wind and solar farms that offset the energy consumption of their data centers, with the long-term goal of having their infrastructure 100% powered by renewable energy. We’ve also switched to a renewable energy provider for our tiny home office.

We believe these are steps in the right direction, but we also wanted to do something more tangible. So a while ago, Postcrossing started to regularly donate to Quercus, a Portuguese non-profit environmental organization whose initiatives include reforestation projects and the nurturing of existing woods. In a country devastated far too often by fires, this cause was dear to our hearts and seemed like a good way to improve on the environment around us.

As part of our donations, we were invited to plant some trees, so last weekend, in a different kind of Postcrossing meeting, we got together with some volunteer postcrossers, rolled up our sleeves and planted a thousand trees in central Portugal. A tiny Postcrossing forest made of two different pine species was born! We took some pictures to show you:

Paulo planting trees Planting trees Planting trees Quercus plantation group photo

The event took place in the historical Pinhal de Leiria, a pine forest created in the 13th century to stop the nearby dunes from advancing inland, and whose trees provided wood for the Portuguese ships that sailed all around the world. Sadly, this forest burned down almost completely in October of 2017, and it is still heartbreaking to walk those woods with their charred tree skeletons… but at least we’re making a tiny difference in its rebirth. Everyone loved the experience, and we plan to repeat this initiative in the coming years.

And finally, there are always choices each one of us can do to make this hobby more eco-friendly. For instance, prefer postcards made with FSC certified paper, or walk/bike to the post office instead of driving there. We’ve compiled a list of green tips on this page, and welcome further ideas on the forum or on the comments below.

We believe that every action counts, so join us in making Postcrossing a greener hobby, one small step (or tree!) at a time.

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71 comments so far

zomertje, Netherlands
Always go to the postoffice on my bike. Love this story and support it with all my hart. Thanks for sharing.
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ned44440, Ireland
Wonderful story. Locally we have some small areas where sustainable trees are planted and we have conservation groups who go out and clean areas which require it at weekends. Small steps but steps on the right road.
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AnnaEto, United States of America
This is wonderful! So glad such impacts are being considered so thoughtfully.
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flowerdogs, United States of America
What a wonderful story. I like to walk or ride a bike to the post office in the warmer months; as it is right down my road! :)
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betslets, United States of America
A few years ago, a local bank contributed to our community/area by planting a tree for each customer account they had. As bank customers, ourselves (with savings accounts for each member of our family) we felt honored to say we proudly contributed three trees to the project.
Reading how much the Postcrossing community considers the importance of being environmentally friendly by participating in a tree-planting event is most inspiring and a story worth passing along. It's definitely a message to stress and include when writing our postcards. (I'm marking my calendar to include special "green tip" reminders on cards I send in April around Earth Day, but the topic of maintaining a safe and healthy environment should be remembered every day)
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geminiscp, Portugal
❤Postcrossing!!!❤ We all can help save our planet. A small effort for all Humanity!
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clutsche, Germany
Well done mates. Steady as she goes !!!
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MerlinM, Germany
Great story! Thank you for sharing it. I used to walk in a wood nearby at the weekends to collect rubbish. And I tried also to plant some trees at the boarders. Somehow I stopped this two years ago. I think this spring I will start with it again. I always walk or ride by bike as I refuse to buy a car. I think in big cities like Berlin you don't need a car. And I love to upcycle especially with letters and postcards. I already inspired some of my pen pals to do it likewise.
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Jenzeestyle, United States of America
amazing ♥
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TravelWithMe, United States of America
This is a great story! Thanks so much for sharing it, and especially for being a part of it.
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Laszlito, Hungary
Well done Postcrossing! ♥ Another idea, in terms of social sustainability, I would encourage people to use charity cards to support various organisations (e.g. environmental-, human rights organisations etc.). ;-)
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Hansvanderveeke, Netherlands
Wow, I am impressed. How good of you to think about these things.
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booboo_babies, United States of America
Earth Day is coming up on April 22, 2019. Even though that falls on a Monday, this article has inspired me to do something worthwhile for the planet (like plant trees). Or maybe I will do something Earth related the weekend before. After all, every day is Earth Day!
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Lies76, Belgium
I am very happy Postcrossing is also taking up responsablity for the climate!
That's super! Thank you!

I don't own a car, so bringing the card to the mailbox happens by foot or bicycle.

Using FSC-postcards is also a good tip! I will keep that in mind when I buy new ones.
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BSpruce, United States of America
I love this!
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bandcrab, United States of America
So awesome! Thanks for planting the trees and working from solar/wind power.
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Luziaceleste, Brazil
Wow, this is really nice. Thank you again for being such nice administrators of this community and showing a balanced path for us.
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pucky, Netherlands
Good work! I support the tree- planting in Kenya
https://rusingakids.wordpress.com
Every day is earthday!
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Facella, Austria
This is great! In November, I bought a couple of vegan postcards, made out of grasspaper. The texture is very different and they were a little expensive, so I only bought those two. But the idea is great. I also stopped buying cards (and stickers, washi tape etc.) with glitter. Glitter is micro plastic and we all know how bad that is for the environment.
I don't even have a driving license and since my mailbox is just across the street, I always walk there. And I agree with MerlinM: You don't need a car in a big city. I live in Vienna and I wouldn't even want a car. No parking lots and nightmarish traffick. Public transport is so much more relaxed!
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-Ralf-, Switzerland
Good Idea !!! Good to know that there are people like you who are trying to make a little change.....
But here is a little note: I saw a serious documentation above FSC - certificated paper and was surprised. They distroy the rainforest ... - they occupy land ... They are far away from the original idea. see Greenpeace. But on the other hand there is no alternative....
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TerryM, United Kingdom
What a great idea, something that will make a real difference. I'm inspired to look for something similar where I live.
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msquared47, United States of America
Great idea and great story!
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Chenoah, Germany
I love this. Thank you for your work guys!
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ned44440, Ireland
An announcement by the Irish Post Office yesterday:
* All postal deliveries in Dublin City Centre will be carried out by zero emission vehicles by year end
* Zero emission deliveries to be extended to Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick & Waterford by 2020
* 750 Electric Vehicles to replace urban fleet by 2022, 200 on the streets this year
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NIDUSKA, Finland
Nice work
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Braam, Australia
It is serendipitous that I have read this wonderful story today. I have planted about 40 trees & will continue, till I kick the bucket. In Australia we have Landcare, an organization which is planting Eucalyptus (gum) trees along the coastline, to provide food & habitat for critically-endangered Koalas. Yes, our national icon is under threat from land-clearing, dogs. bush-fires & traffic. Every bit we can do will help. Love to you all!
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alterego, Canada
Thank you for your creativity and leading by example! Great ideas here
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Knerq, United States of America
Wow, very cool!
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mysweetlife63, United States of America
I am so proud of all y'all! Thank you for the hard work! Keep educating us toward a greened hobby & a better planet! Much appreciated.
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elanj123, United States of America
Awesome job !!! I upcycle tissue boxes for bookmarks and recycle the bits I can't use from them as well. I also send some of these to my pc addresses so they can enjoy my art !!! I'm a recycling freak and wish my small city was better at collecting the odder bits, like grocery bags and foil...boo !
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honeybee, Austria
Well done. You always have the best ideas, Paulo and Ana.
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ALFAVIT, Russia
I was obsessed with the idea of restoring and protecting nature while still studying in high school at the end of the 80s. participated in raids to clean the banks of the river from debris and planting young pines. We were brought the same small seedlings as in the photo, they could hardly guess the pine.
Now many years later and seeing this blog, I remembered myself in it. Thanks to the enthusiasts. keep it up.
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Greesh, India
Great initiative
Hat s off
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Frogletisima, Netherlands
Well done! I love this!
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alison41, South Africa
Fantastic - what a great project.I enjoyed the photos. And thanks for the List of suggestions. I already print on the back of used sheets, and also recycle gift wrap. But you have given me some more good ideas.
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KaFrie, Germany
Wow, how wonderful!
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Demmi, Romania
Congrats & Well Done!
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Gerda-RD, Netherlands
We planted our Christmastree in the "garden" from the local authority. They have a small stroke of gras in our street where we planted our tree. And next Christmas the whole street helps with lights and balls for the tree. A little light shines .....
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Aziz, Egypt
CHAPEAU !!!
i'll follow ur steps here in my city :)
full respect and support for ur efforts
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EmmaJansen, Netherlands
Good job writing about this important situation! I always bike to the postoffice, haha, I don't own a car :)
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sacdalton, United States of America
Thanks so much for sharing what you and Postcrossing are doing to make a difference. All the little steps help. I try to repurpose my postcards so they have a meaningful life. Great work to you!
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elive, Indonesia
Great to know how Postcrossing cares and acts to support sustainability! Every day I go everywhere by cycling as I believe in the importance in sustainability as well. I hope this small effort will make something big someday.
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LuSays, United Kingdom
What a great idea, we have just moved to solar cells at home. Every little bit of effort adds up to a BIG difference! Thank you.
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Irmao-das-Almas, Brazil
It's a great initiative.
I have also collaborated with planting seedlings near the hiking trail that I usually go to.
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metrophil, Germany
What a great idea! I actually recently wanted to write an e-mail to Postcrossing asking about the enviromental impact of the site and what is done about it, so I am very happy to see this is already being addressed (pun intended)
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mounten, Italy
Great story!! I plant my own trees using the fruitstone till it makes roots and then I plant the tree in my garden. My mailing box is just outside my gardenfence, and I walk a lot don't use the car if not necessary. Using shopping bags (fabric). No waste in the kitchen. Clever shopping.
Every single person is responsible that Mother Earth last for future generations.
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Stillmeadowlark, United States of America
Altho I purchased two collections of NEW postcards from Amazon, From now on,, I’ll now purchase only singles - essentially recycling both vintage and old/new cards.
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januari, Sweden
What a good initiative, indeed ! I try to find and buy postcards in second hand shops that are using the money to help people in poor countries... So it's good for the environment and we're also helping other people to improve their lives....
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majphan, United States of America
Awesome!!!
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Anactf, Portugal
That's a wonderful idea! I have already collaborated with Quercus, too.
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kalani, United States of America
Hi! I belong to the National Arbor Foundation in the US. Whenever someone passes on, I send a donation and have trees planted in their honor. Wherever one can help, it is a good thing.
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jillbutler, United States of America
Pause for thought and consideration! Will step back and consider how to participate. Great initiative! You guys and gals are giants!
jill butler
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Bookhuntress, United States of America
That's wonderful! Trees are so important!
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im_alexa, Poland
What a wonderful story. Good job!
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Talal90Ahmed, Iraq
glory to postcrossing 🌾🌾🌾😍🌾😍🌾😍
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LondonWriting, United Kingdom
Thanks for this blog post, really interesting and nice to see. I don’t own a car (member of a car sharing club for the odd occasion I do need one), but that’s easy in a metropolitan city. I will look out specifically for more postcards from recycled paper as that’s even better than virgin paper from sustainable sources and while I do have cards from charities, they are only a fraction. In the UK, greeting cards are more common than postcards and so charities mostly stock special occasion cards incl envelope - I’m intrigued to see other’s ideas 🌱
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Alexander9179, Russia
In the Russian Federation, 2,000,000 hectares of forest per year are cut down. 100 million hectares of forests were planted (only 29 countries of the world have a large area of ​​their territory). In the forest fires burn 35 million (as the territory of the country of Germany) - 45 million (approximately the territory of the country of Sweden) hectares of forest ... Therefore, we always laugh at your attempts! But still great! Only plant trees of different age, it will save the future forest from pests!

В Российской Федерации спиливыют 2 000 000 га леса в год. Высаживают 100 000 000 га лесов (только 29 стран мира имеют большую площадь своей территории). В лесных пожарах сгорает 35 000 000(как территория Германии) - 45 000 000(римерно территория Швеции) га лесов... Поэтому мы всегда смеёмся над Вашими потугами! Но всё равно молодцы! Только сажайте деревья разных возврастов, это убережёт будущий лес от вредителей!
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vlada_123, Russia
It's great.
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teamug, Germany
Thank you guys for your great work and encouragement. I live in a city and in my neighbourhood we have terraced houses with little gardens. Most new owners at first cut down all the old trees on the property. But even though the gardens are only 6x12 metres one can plant trees. Last summer when we had 36°C from April to September one could see the positive effect of trees even in small properties. I have two 60 yr old birches, a 15 yr old hazelnut, sour cherry, apple, elderberry, Japanese maple, lilac and still I planted a ginkgo last autumn. I always feel I have to make up for the lost numbers of our neighbourhood but still try to encourage them to at least plant large bushes that offer insect food and shelter for birds.
But many people lost touch with nature. A small garden is considered a venue for parties, a sun-deck, a private playground for their children (what happened to sharing playgrounds) but rarely as a small piece of nature to give room for diverse life.
We all can provide that space....
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beesknees, United States of America
excellent!
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Surimabo, Canada
That is AWESOME!!! We totally understand you. We live on the west coast and we have terrible forest fires every summer and it really hurts to see the trees burn and the forests devastated. You are wonderful :) We need to be friends with NATURE...we are all connected!
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BeckyS, United States of America
Inspiring!
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BevV, Zimbabwe
I love all the comments - we really do need to look after our nature, without it we will not be here either.
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YashBhurat, India
:0
:)
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Tara_Bell, United States of America
I have been sending out only recycled cards. Some were purchased from Syracuse Cultural Workers and others are homemade cards cut from cardboard binders that were no longer needed, and of course decorated. It is great to hear about Postcrossers planting all those trees! What A lovely story! Trees are very important to me, and I try to visit ecologyfund.com every day to do the free click to donate, and on Care2 I always donate butterfly credits to save the rainforest. These are just small things, but if enough people participate our actions do add up.
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Terragarden, United States of America
Thank you for planting those trees to replace the destruction by fire of the forest. Where I live, in a city in the USA, the post office picks up my postcards at my house, so no wasted energy driving and riding a bike to the post office.
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BevV, Zimbabwe
I love that you replanted where fire had destroyed the original forest. I don't walk to my post office, but I do give the post to a messenger going to town, or I drop it off when I am near a post office. The school where I work have been planting indigenous trees in the grounds to replace ones that have had to be cut down due to expansion. Many of the post cards that I have been buying were printed ages ago (not many people here send post cards any more and am trying to change that). The new cards are printed on card made from trees specifically grown for commercial use.
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TatyanaOK, United States of America
What a wonderful idea. I walk to my post office. It’s just across the road from my home 🏠. And I love nature.
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iphoto, Australia
AWESOME initiative❣️Well done guys 😉
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Elisabeth_, Austria
Wow... Congratulations on the Postcrossing-forest!!! Thank you for your commitment!!! ♥
We don't have a car so I always walk to the post-office or I go there by bicycle. We've switched to a renewable energy provider, too, some years ago.
Another idea is using ecosia instead of google. Ecosia is a social business which donates most of their profit to organizations who protect nature. More than 55 million trees have already been planted due to ecosia, for example in Brazil and in Burkina Faso.
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filipapinto99, Portugal
Hey, guys! I clicked on the Google Maps link and found out that the place where the trees were planted was Leiria.
A lot of you may not know it, but Leiria is a portuguese city, well-known in our country for its pinewood. In the 13th century, the king, D. Afonso III, enacted its beginning, by ordering the planting of pine trees. However, it was his son, D. Dinis, that became famed for it, so much that we, sometimes, refer to him as "O Lavrador", which (kind of) means "The Farmer".
The "Pinhal de Leiria" (yes, that's how we call the pinewood) has always had a very important role in Portuguese History. Its trees were what provided the wood for the boats that propelled the Portuguese Discoveries, in the beginning of the 15th century.
Seeing Postcrossing collaborating with Quercus is enough for me to believe that, despite all the forest fires, there's still hope. Thank you for showing us how amazing it is to be a member of this community.
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