American Recycler News, Inc.

 

Green teams help USPS save millions

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) saved more than $52 million in 2012 by reducing energy, water, consumables, petroleum fuel use and solid waste to landfills, and generated nearly $24 million in revenue by recycling. Together, these actions to save costs and generate revenue surpassed $76 million.

Employee green teams played a key role in helping the Postal Service achieve the savings and revenue, part of which included nearly $12 million in vehicle fuel cost avoidance, more than $10 million in facility energy savings, water savings of nearly $1 million and a decrease in supplies spending of nearly $4 million. Green teams helped the Postal Service recycle more than 253,000 tons of material, which saved more than $25 million in landfill fees.

“Across the country, postal employees are participating in more than 850 green teams,” said chief sustainability officer Thomas G. Day.

The teams help identify and implement low and no-cost sustainable practices to help the Postal Service meet the following goals by 2015:

  • Reduce facility energy use by 30 percent compared to 2003.
  • Reduce water use by 10 percent compared to 2007.
  • Reduce petroleum fuel use by 20 percent compared to 2005.
  • Recycle 50 percent of all solid waste compared to 2009.

The Postal Service buys sustainable materials and works to reduce the amount of supplies it purchases. The agency first developed a “buy green” policy nearly 15 years ago, and has a goal to reduce spending on supplies by 30 percent by 2020. Additionally, the Postal Service is working to increase the amount of environmentally preferable products it buys by 50 percent by 2015. Environmentally preferable products are bio-based, energy and water efficient, eco-labeled or contain recycled material.

In its shipping supplies, the Postal Service uses post-consumer recycled content materials diverted from the waste stream, which benefits the environment and helps customers go green when they mail their packages with the Postal Service.

The Postal Service is the first federal agency to publicly report its greenhouse gas emissions and receive third-party verification of the results.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.