Success Stories - Federal Government
US Postal Service Great Lakes Area
In 2008, the US Postal Service Great Lakes Area demonstrated its commitment to reducing waste and promoting recycled-content materials. Despite a tight fiscal budget, the Great Lakes Area purchased more than $12 million worth of recycled-content products and, as a result, 85 percent of paper purchases contained recycled content. In addition, the US Postal Service Great Lakes Area saved more than $1.23 million by diverting paper materials from the landfill and saved an additional $52.5 million by reusing industrial equipment, electronics, and office furniture.
US Postal Service Western Area
In 2008, the US Postal Service Western Areas conservation efforts saved the region $44 million. These savings were achieved by reusing and redistributing equipment and materials within the postal system, as well as diverting 35,000 tons of waste from the landfill. Environmental staff promoted WasteWise by posting flyers, making presentations to local management, and reaching out to USPS customers. As a result, the number of postal facilities that began recycling programs in the Western Area increased by 38 percent. The US Postal Service Western Area also purchased a substantial amount of recycled-content products. In particular, 92 percent of the paper purchased by the Salt Lake City District and 90 percent of paper purchased by the Mid America District had more than 90 percent recycled content.
US Postal Service Alabama District
The Alabama District of the USPS has 710 facilities with more than 10,000 employees. To date, the Alabama District has received nine WasteWise awards, including five Federal Partner of the Year awards. The Alabama District demonstrates an exceptional level of involvement in WasteWise, having participated in every WasteWise conference and regional meeting since 1999. The District also strives to educate employees in every Alabama facility about WasteWise.
Through its participation in WasteWise, the Alabama District has reduced waste by more than 75,000 tons over its nine years as a partner. This reduction was achieved without direct funding or work hours allocated to recycling efforts. Instead, the program is integrated into normal business processes that generated more than $152,700 in revenue in 2007.
Since the inception of its program, the Alabama District has visited schools throughout the state to educate students about recycling and distributed creative promotional items encouraging recycling, such as pencils made from undeliverable mail. The District also handed out peanuts as part of its Protecting Our Environment for Peanuts, campaign, an effort to convey the message that recycling does not have to be a big expense. Postmasters and managers in the Alabama District participate in local events including community founder days, Earth Day events, and other activities to encourage recycling and waste prevention.
In addition to its public outreach efforts, the Alabama District encourages green procurement practices including purchasing recycled-content products. Flat tubs and trays previously constructed of cardboard are now being replaced with HDPE plastic; canvas sacks and pouches are being replaced with polypropylene products; and hampers constructed of metal and canvas are being replaced with PET/HDPE plastic, as are wooden pallets.
The Alabama Districts waste prevention and recycling efforts also include increased use of electronic communication; recycling of fluorescent lamps, batteries, toner cartridges, and cell phones; and expansion of shrink-wrap recycling.
US Postal Service Dallas District
The Dallas District of the US Postal Service worked to develop new recycling centers and back-haul facilities and expanded its existing recycling programs in 2007. More than 7,400 tons of paper was recycled due to the increased efforts. The Dallas District also focused on purchasing products that contain recycled materials, such as paper, retreaded tires, and re-refined motor oil. Expanding employee education about WasteWise initiatives remains a priority for the Dallas District, which developed and implemented training on pollution prevention and recycling programs for its maintenance personnel. Total avoided costs from recycling and waste prevention in 2007 topped $1.3 million.