The U.S. Postal Service 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. “Motivated by a desire to be good stewards of the environment, and our sustainability call to action, ‘leaner, greener, faster, smarter,’ employee green teams are helping the Postal Service achieve positive results in energy reduction and resource conservation.”
Green teams are another way the Postal Service fosters a culture of conservation, building on the agency’s long history of environmental and socially responsible leadership. 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 and
- Recycle 50 percent of all solid waste compared to 2009.
The Postal Service has activated green teams nationwide to help achieve these goals.
“The Postal Service has more than 32,000 facilities, a presence in every community and one of the largest civilian fleets in the nation, so we understand how pivotal our efforts are to make a positive impact on the environment,” Day added. “Our green teams are an important part of our conservation culture, and the effort to reduce our carbon footprint.”
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 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. For more information about the Postal Service’s sustainability initiatives, including the Go Green Forever stamps, visit usps.com/green and the Postal Store.
The Postal Service has won numerous environmental honors, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WasteWise Partner of the Year award in 2010 and 2011, the EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities award in 2011, The Climate Registry Gold award in 2011 and the 2012 GreenGov Presidential Award.
USPS participates in the International Post Corporation’s Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System, the global postal industry’s program to reduce its carbon footprint 20 percent by 2020 compared to 2008.