USPS Lean Green Teams Reduce Energy, Water, Waste

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Sustainability initiatives from the USPS include free eco-friendly packaging for postal customers.

Lean Green Teams helped the Postal Service reduce energy, water, solid waste to landfills and petroleum fuel use, saving the agency more than $5 million in 2010. Environmental policies also helped the Postal Service recycle more than 222,000 tons of material—an increase of nearly 8,000 tons over the prior year—which generated $13 million in revenue, and saved an additional $9.1 million in landfill fees.

“Across the country, postal employees are participating in more than 80 cross-functional Lean Green Teams that are producing significant results in energy reduction and resource conservation,” said Emil Dzuray, acting Chief Sustainability Officer.

Lean Green Teams build on the Postal Service’s efforts to create a culture of conservation and on its long history of environmental and socially responsible leadership. The teams are helping mesh low-cost and no-cost sustainable practices with performance management systems to help the Postal Service meet the following reduction goals by 2015:

  • facility energy use 30 percent
  • water use 10 percent
  • petroleum fuel use 20 percent
  • landfill waste 50 percent.

The Postal Service is on track to achieve these goals, according to Dzuray, and plans to deploy Lean Green Teams nationwide by 2012.

“With nearly 32,000 facilities, a presence in every community, and the largest civilian fleet in the nation, we know how important our efforts are to make a positive impact on the environment,” Dzuray added. “Our employee green teams are an important part of building a conservation culture and reducing our carbon footprint.”

As part of its green efforts, the Postal Service buys sustainable materials and works to reduce the amount of consumables it buys. The agency first developed a “buy green” policy more than 12 years ago, and has a goal to reduce spending on consumables 30 percent by 2020. In 2009, its consumables spending decreased 16 percent from the previous year. Additionally, the Postal Service is working to increase the percentage of environmentally preferable products it buys by 50 percent by 2015. These are products that are bio-based, have recycled content, are eco-labeled and are energy and water efficient.

The Postal Service is the only mailing and shipping company in the world whose shipping supplies and postage products have earned Cradle to Cradle CertificationCM , meaning they are designed with materials that are safe for human health and the environment. The agency has won more than 75 environmental awards, including 40 White House Closing the Circle, 10 Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Partner of the Year, Climate Action Champion, Direct Marketing Association Green Echo, and the Postal Technology International Environmental Achievement of the Year.

For more information about the Lean Green Teams or the U.S. Postal Service’s other sustainability initiatives, visit

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