Start a Recycling Program for Discarded Lobby Mail

Would you like to save money, meet your customers’ environmental expectations, and make your Post Office more sustainable? If you haven’t already done so, why not consider offering recycling in the Post Office Box section.

Before a Discarded Lobby Mail (DLM) recycling program can begin, you should have a basic recycling plan. A Dis­carded Lobby Mail Recycle Guide is available on the Office of Sustainability website. Use the ordering instructions for the lobby recycling containers, lobby recycling poster, and customer notice featured on pages 2226 of this issue of the Postal Bulletin. Before you place your order for these “no cost” items, review the program requirements. Here are the 10 steps you can take to make this happen:

1. Determine the number of recycling containers re­quired. On average, one 23-gallon recycling contain­er will be needed for every active 500 Post Office Boxes. The containers are to be placed in the Post Office Box section of your lobby near writing tables or other appropriate locations. Order the containers through the Material Distribution Center (MDC) (see page 22).

2. Placard DLM removed from recycling containers. Collect DLM in clear plastic bags used as container liners. See Step 5 for guidance on ordering bags. Use proper placards. (You can download them from the Office of Sustainability Earth Day website.)

3. Brief custodians on DLM recycling. Without prop­erly informed custodians, the recycling program will not be effective. Provide custodians with a key to the recycling containers and instructions on keeping units locked. Give service talks to affected custodi­ans. (You can download service talks from the Sus­tainability Earth Day website.)

4. Install recycling containers and reduce trash con­tainers. Place recycling containers near the free-standing or built-in counters in the Post Office Box section of the lobby. Once recycling is operational, most, if not all, of the trash containers are to be re­moved or the frequency of disposal adjusted. Note: USPS does not sell any products or deliver any mail that when discarded as a waste cannot be included in the Lobby Recycling Program. Minor quantities of contamination are okay. As a rule of thumb, contam­inants should not exceed 5 percent of the quantity of­fered to the recycler. Any given lobby recycling container may have more or less than that quantity without adversely affecting the recyclability of the mixed paper.

5. Notify Post Office Box customers of the DLM pro­gram. Make sure your postmaster informs your cus­tomers via postcard (i.e., Notice 180, Lobby Recycling Postcard) that your Post Office has started a recycling program for Discarded Lobby Mail. No­tice 180 provides a standard customer notification procedure about the lobby recycling program. Order Notice 180 and a specially designed poster (Poster 615, Read, Respond, Recycle Your Mail) through the MDC. Place the recycling poster in the Post Office Box section.

6. If you recycle via a USPS hub, consult the hub site for container placards. If your office participates in a backhaul program, transporting DLM to a hub site requires the prior approval of the hub site. The hub site determines the containers, placards, and the designated transportation schedule to minimize im­pact on postal operations. Use clear plastic bags to containerize DLM to distinguish it from other live mail. Label DLM before containerization and trans­port to the hub. (You can download an SOP for a DLM backhaul program from the Office of Sustain­ability website.)

7. If you recycle locally, use clear plastic bags. Con­tainerize DLM in clear plastic bags to distinguish it from other live mail. Label it before it is picked up by a local recycler.

8. Re-evaluate solid waste services after starting DLM recycling. Initiating a DLM recycling program reduces solid waste. To capture these savings, re-ne­gotiate your solid waste disposal contract after the benefits of recycling are calculated. If you are under a formal contract, contact the Facilities Services CMC in Windsor, Connecticut (see page 14 for con­tact information).

9. Periodically inspect the Post Office Box section. To ensure consistency with mystery shopper pro­gram guidelines, the Post Office Box lobby section should be kept clean and neat. Recycling containers are authorized in Post Office Box lobbies as long as they are properly maintained and use the USPS-ap­proved blue lobby recycling container.

10. Periodically remind customers to recycle. Our lob­by recycling program generates increased revenue from mixed paper and reduces solid waste disposal costs. To support this goal, give periodic reminders to Post Office Box section customers that “Mail is Recyclable.” Provide these reminders by issuing No­tice 180 to Post Office Box customers, and placing Poster 615 in the Post Office Box lobby.

What Can You Do?

If you are a postmaster, station manager, or branch manager, determine the number of recycling containers needed for your lobby box section. Order supplies of the secure blue “slim jim” containers, Poster 615, and Notice 180 through the MDC. These items are available at no cost to your office as long as they are deployed in accordance with the above instructions. These containers are available on a first-come first-served basis while supplies last.