Greening of Postal Blue

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By on September 16, 2009 in Current Events with 0 Comments

It’s hard to keep up with the Postal Service’s green initiatives, environmental awards and think-tank ideas. And that’s good — for the environment and the bottom line.
Recently USPS was awarded the White House Closing the Circle Award for its Green Purchasing Program (GPP). This brings the number of closing the circle awards USPS has won to 40. The program began in 1995.
Supply Management GPP criteria include recycled content or renewable resources, ecolabel certified and Energy Star to name a few. By incorporating “environmentally preferable” products into purchasing decisions — along with price, quality and delivery standards — Supply Management is making greener decisions.
“This initiative helps conserve natural resources, protect the environment and provide a safer workplace for our employees,” said Supply Management VP Susan Brownell. “They also support our ever-improving sustainable business practices and are fiscally prudent.”
The Postal Service also received a Closing the Circle honorable mention for its Lead-Free Wheel Weight program. This program has the potential to prevent 17 tons of lead from entering the environment by outfitting Postal Service vehicles across the nation with lead-free wheel weights.
Zero waste efforts
“We’re paying close attention to the amount of waste that we produce, because we create a lot of it — nearly 500,000 tons in 2008,” said Sustainability VP Sam Pulcrano. “We’re attacking it on two fronts — generating less and recycling more.”
A zero waste pilot program is currently underway at 19 sites across the nation. The goal of zero waste is to reduce to zero the amount of trash that facilities send to landfills, reuse products and recycle more.
“These three steps will reduce our environmental impact,” said Sustainability Programs Manager Mike Fanning. “And recycling provides the added benefit of income.”
Green technology
Green initiatives aren’t just good for the environment — they’re also good for business according to Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President Ross Philo.
Information Technology is taking advantage of leading-edge technology to cut back on computer energy consumption in facilities, use less printer paper, reduce the time computers stay turned on and lower travel costs through webinars and online meetings.
Changing network printer configurations to a double-sided default setting, for example, has greatly reduced paper use and saved the Postal Service $49,000 a month in supply costs. And changing color-printer default settings to black and white has led to nearly 700,000 fewer pages printed in color for each of the past six months and an additional $37,000 in monthly savings.
“Our aim is to reduce waste, reduce cost and provide greater levels of IT services with significantly lower consumption of power and natural resources,” said Philo. “This will bring us closer to operating in a sustainable IT ecosystem.”
Every employee can play a part by thinking twice before hitting the “print” button, turn off computer monitors when you leave work and when possible, use MeetingPlace and webinars for meetings instead of travel.
Environmental stewardship is everyone’s responsibility — at work and at home.

© 2017 Marilyn Jones. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Marilyn Jones.

About the Author

Marilyn Jones has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the BostonGlobe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional travel magazines.

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