2010 Sustainability Report
Leaner | greener | faster | smarter

Our network | Greener facilities

Backhauling to the future

Backhauling means taking advantage of the available space on postal vehicles during their daily return trips to a central USPS facility to transport materials, such as mixed paper, old corrugated cardboard and plastic wrap, which will be recycled from the central facility.

Sometimes, the vehicles can take them directly to a paper mill that purchases recyclables.

This enables facilities that are geographically spread out and don’t have recycling facilities near them to participate cost-effectively in our efforts to increase recycling organization wide.

In FY 2010, more than 11,000 USPS facilities across the country used backhauling to reduce the volume, frequency and costs of solid waste disposal and hauling.

They are keeping valuable recycled materials from being sent to landfills, and generating revenue. These facilities also are avoiding the transportation fees usually subtracted from that revenue. And they are doing it without adding costs to the Postal Service.

Looking to the future, USPS is exploring a wide range of other materials we could backhaul. We are also asking our customers for ideas. Given our broad reach, visiting every U.S. address, the sustainability possibilities are significant.

Zero waste is our goal

Our long-term waste management goal is this: become a zero-waste organization and help our business customers and suppliers do the same.

We want to not only generates less waste, but divert the waste we do have out of landfills. In addition to recycling, we’re working to turn more waste into energy.

We also intend to consider waste before we purchase supplies, and choose only supplies that can be fully consumed, reused or recycled.