Goodbye Manila, Hello Green

Author: Sara Brown


Since the beginning of the school year, a number of green inter-department envelopes have been making their way to mailboxes across campus. These Greenvelopes are a pilot program initiated by the Office of Sustainability and Mail Services to reduce office waste and save money.

“They are more durable and longer lasting than the manila-paper alternative, plus only one-third of the latter are used until they truly reach the end of their life,” said Sara Brown program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. “This pilot is an opportunity to test out other options and see if they will live up to the performance expectations of the campus community while helping us achieve our waste reduction targets."

The Greenvelopes look and function just like the paper manila clasp envelopes, but they have numerous sustainable benefits, including reducing paper waste by more than 85%, diminishing office costs, and decreasing the carbon footprint associated with harvesting trees and recycling paper. Greenvelopes are made of non-woven polypropylene (NWP), which greatly enhances durability; the envelope uses a string clasp and has a front pocket with a clear, see-through front to place a routing sheet. Currently, the envelope has an indefinite life span, since it can be reused until it gets ripped or torn, and then it can be recycled.

While Greenvelopes may seem like a simple idea, implementing the concept can have a huge impact here at Notre Dame. With universities using on average 100,000 paper envelopes every year, this reusable option would vastly reduce the need for re-ordering, storage and waste.

There are currently 50 of these sustainable envelopes on campus being used for inter-office mailings, and interested departments are encouraged to contact Mail Services to request additional Greenvelopes. Mail Services encourages those who receive Greenvelopes to put them back in circulation as soon as possible. This will help the Office of Sustainability and Mail Services get a better understanding of how well they work at Notre Dame.

If you have received a Greenvelope, please let us know what you think by emailing us at