“Our flat-rate box is certified environment friendly — it’s made of materials that are safe for the planet, and the manufacturing process is resource efficient.”

— Sustainability Vice President Sam Pulcrano

Green Products and Services

Retail Products and Services VP Tim Healy

Tim Healy
Vice President,
Retail Products
and Services

What’s New

  • Paper-based transactions reduced by using online PO Box renewals and insurance claims.
  • Worked with outside partners to develop sustainable packaging guidelines.

The Postal Service continues to improve the sustainability of our products and services by certifying the products we sell, evaluating ways to reduce packaging and waste, and working with our suppliers and peers to develop and implement industry guidelines.

Cradle-to-Cradle certified no-price menuboards

Prices have been removed from menuboards in more than 34,000 Post Offices. Because we no longer need to replace or discard the menuboards when prices change, this minimizes waste and helps save natural resources. We’ve also earned Cradle-to-Cradle certification by producing the menuboards from environmentally friendly materials.


Sustainable greeting card displays

The Postal Service’s greeting card program uses corrugated displays that are reused for in-store seasonal and promotional products. These card displays in Post Offices are produced for long life and are often reused from season to season to reduce replacement and disposal costs.

Retail products

We’re working with suppliers to reduce waste and pollutants by using recyclable materials like our passport wallet packaging. This packaging is made entirely from recycled material. Also, our PhotoStamp package uses 60 percent recycled material.

In FY 2009, we produced and shipped more than 43,000 PhotoStamp kits and 16,000 passport wallets.

ReadyPost products

ReadyPost supplies

About 52 percent of our entire ReadyPost line of shipping and mailing products has been certified Cradle to Cradle as of October 2009. Certified products include corrugated boxes, utility and padded mailers, photo document mailers and large envelopes. The next product to be certified will be ReadyPost labels.

The ReadyPost program uses durable corrugated displays that are reused for ReadyPost promotions. These displays also are moved to smaller Post Offices for product displays. This reuse of the displays helps to reduce production and disposal costs.

Facts and Figures

less paper
generated from point of sale receipts and reporting

more than
of our ReadyPost products are Cradle-to-Cradle certified.

in online PO Box renewals


USPS is a member of the Society of Product Licensors Committed to Excellence and is working with the group to develop sustainable packaging guidelines. In the interim, individual Postal Service licensees have taken the lead in reducing the amount of materials used in their packaging.

For example, Schylling Associates, a toy licensee, has replaced plastic blistercards with cardboard sleeves to reduce packaging and use materials that can be recycled.

And LePage’s, which provides USPS mailing products sold at Office Depot and other stores, won a point-of-purchase gold award from the Packaging Association of Canada for its holiday display of Postal Service–branded mailing and shipping products. The display was made of 100 percent recycled material and printed with water-based inks. All ink/pigment was recovered during production to ensure that none entered the water supply.

The display’s three fully loaded, stackable components eliminated the need to ship additional products to replenish the display. Once the holiday season was over, stores recycled it.

Recycling self-service vending equipment

To reduce the volume of solid waste generated from removing self-service vending machines from postal and non-postal locations, USPS has an initiative to recycle vending machines, eliminating the need to put them in landfills.

A second initiative under way will eliminate waste created by the destruction of stamps taken from these recycled vending machines. Approximately 6 million of these stamps will be sold at Post Office retail counters.

Point-of-service equipment

Software enhancements are reducing the amount of paper and toner used to create the point-of-service reports printed at the end of the business day.

Back-office reports have been either eliminated or reduced, or are being printed on demand, reducing the volume of paper generated by 50 percent.

Person recycling old electronic device using mail back envelope

The Mail Back program makes it easier for customers to discard used or obsolete small electronics in an environmentally responsible way.

Customers use free envelopes available in 1,500 Post Offices to mail back inkjet cartridges, BlackBerries, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players without paying any postage.

In 2009, customers used the Mail Back envelopes to recycle nearly 152,000 pounds of material.

Insurance claims

Bar chart showing growth in online filing of domestic insurance claims from 30% in FY 2005 to nearly 50% in FY 2009.

The Postal Service has been significantly reducing paper-based insurance claims filed by customers. In April 2009, we began allowing customers to file domestic insurance claims online (except for COD and Registered Mail), regardless of whether or not the insurance was originally purchased online or at a retail unit.

Resolving claims online is another way we’re improving our policies to decrease turnaround time and improve overall customer experiences. These changes also reduce paper-based transactions.

By the end of FY 2009, nearly 50 percent of all claims were being filed online.

PO Boxes

Making it easier for customers to renew PO Box services at usps.com produced a 248 percent increase in online renewals in FY 2009. PO Boxes Online enables customers to locate, reserve and pay for their PO Boxes using the Internet.

And cutting out those trips to the Post Office — or mailing a form or check to renew a PO Box — reduces consumption of fossil fuels and paper.