Cover Story

Change Starts with You — Sustainable Practices Benefit All of Us

October is Energy Action Month, which is a time to remind Postal Service™ employees and customers to commit to action, conserve energy, and promote efficiency. On Thursday, October 24, 2019, the United States Postal Service® will have an Energy Action Month event at Headquarters in Washington, DC, in the Hall of Flags, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our theme for this event is “Change Starts with You — Sustainable Practices Benefit All of Us.”

The Postal Service is committed to being a sustainability leader. This is not just a mission statement, but a sincere commitment to save energy and reduce our impact on the environment. The Postal Service has a rich history of setting goals to reduce our impact, even if we know our goals can’t be achieved in a day. With concentrated effort, the Postal Service is making a difference and working hard to help care for the world we share. Our goal is to integrate environmentally-responsible business practices into daily operations and provide products and services that help our customers achieve their own sustainability objectives.

Working together, our efforts have yielded significant cost-savings as we reduce the pollution emitted from non-renewable sources of energy. The Postal Service reduced facility energy consumption by more than 30 percent during the past decade. We have also reduced greenhouse gas emissions and water usage, and inspired our employees to get involved through Lean Green teams that seek new ways to cut waste, save energy, and become more sustainable. Additionally, the Postal Service is investing in updates to our facility lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. With the successful installation of 35,000 solar panels at the Los Angeles Processing and Distribution Center, we are moving forward with four more renewable energy installations in New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC. We continue to look for innovative technologies, such as our zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) system at the Washington Network Distribution Center in Capitol Heights, MD, used for our powered industrial vehicles.

Our national recycling operation standardized our trash removal processes and recycling efforts through backhauling recyclables to plants and hubs for consolidation. At the end of fiscal year 2018, we achieved a 51.7 percent diversion rate of solid waste from landfill to recycling. In addition to being good for the environment, this allows us to reduce trash disposal costs by reducing trash pickup frequency and the size of trash containers.

The Postal Service has also made it easy for federal agencies and their employees to recycle old electronics and printer cartridges through participation in the USPS BlueEarth® Federal Recycling Program. Additionally, our USPS BlueEarth Secure Destruction Program is an opt-in service for large mailers that securely shreds and recycles undeliverable-as-addressed First-Class Mail® with personal protected information that would otherwise be returned to the sender. These programs help reduce landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing environmental impact to the overall mailstream. Working with Supply Management, the Postal Service has a continued focus on buying environmentally preferable products and services from our suppliers.

We conduct environmental compliance reviews annually to ensure that our high-risk facilities meet or exceed environmental standards. Our underground storage tank program addresses environmental risk to the Postal Service. We continuously monitor, inspect, and test tanks, and remove and replace any that pose a liability. The Postal Service has a zero-discharge policy to reduce pollution in stormwater. Additionally, we continuously review our waste generation processes and identify opportunities for the reduction and elimination of hazardous wastes.

Thank you for your continued efforts to save energy as we all work to be good stewards of the world we share. I look forward to celebrating our past successes and working together on future sustainable initiatives this Energy Action Month.

Jennifer Beiro-Réveillé,
USPS Chief Sustainability Officer

Use the following resources to do your part for Energy Action Month 2019.

“Go Green” Tips

n Adjust the thermostat.

n Use public transportation or walk to your destination.

n Combine trips by car so you travel less often.

n Share rides.

n Turn off lights not in-use and choose efficient light bulbs.

n Recycle more — check to see your local waste service options.

n Maintain tire pressure on your car to save fuel.

n Insulate your home.

n Compost whenever you can.

Ship Green with USPS

When you order a product online, choose the Postal Service to deliver it. We already come to your house 6 days a week.

Skip the Trip

Skip trips to the Post Office™ by shipping online at You can also:

n Print postage-paid shipping labels with Click-N-Ship®.

n Schedule a free Package Pickup at

n Buy stamps and order supplies.

Recycle Mail

Most mail is recyclable mixed paper. After you read it, recycle it.

Are You a Green Mailer?

Here are some green ideas for direct marketing:

n Regularly update your mailing list — check out our Address Quality Services at

n Use research to target your customers.

n Use recycled materials.

n Choose paper certified by organizations such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council.

n Design your mailings to be recyclable by using water-based inks and uncoated paper stock.

n Print double-sided.

n Ask your customers to recycle the mailpiece once they’ve read it.

Learn More About USPS Sustainability Efforts

n The Office of Sustainability site:

n Lean Green teams:

n Green Project list:

n National Recycling Operation:

n Greening business:

n Green purchasing:

Learn How to Save Energy at Home

n Department of Energy: or

n Environmental Protection Agency: or