Environmentally preferable product purchasing
USPS launched its sustainable purchasing program in FY 2007 with the release of a green purchasing plan that guides our actions when making purchasing decisions. In addition to balancing traditional elements such as cost, functionality, quantity, packaging and product performance, buyers are encouraged to:
- Include environmental considerations and alternative product options as part of our normal best value procurement process.
- Emphasize pollution prevention and recycling improvements as part of the purchasing process.
- Compare environmental product attributes when selecting products and services.
- Collect accurate data from suppliers about the environmental performance of products and services.
Within our online supplies ordering system, environmentally preferable product purchasing indicators identify to our purchasing employees available product alternatives that are chemical free, low-or-no toxic, bio-based and are certified as more energy and water efficient, or contain recycled-content. An example would be office copy paper that that contains at least 30 percent post-consumer fiber.
During 2011, through quarterly data obtained from our suppliers, USPS purchased about $288 million in environmentally preferable products. Of that, $282 million was spent on recycled content.
The estimated greenhouse gas emissions reductions from using products with recycled content is almost 228,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent — nearly equal to removing almost 41,000 passenger cars from the road for an entire year!