It’s safe to say that sustainability has gone mainstream. It’s not just that “going green” is the responsible thing to do; it’s also good business.

Take a look at Walmart’s website, or do a quick search on “corporate sustainability” and you’ll find another dozen or more well-known brands touting environmental sustainability is essential to doing business responsibly and successfully.

The U.S. Postal Service, too, is trying to do its part, particularly with recycling. Since 2008, the Postal Service has recycled an average of about 220,000 tons of wastepaper, cardboard, cans, plastics, and other reusable materials. In fiscal year (FY) 2013, the Postal Service diverted about 40 percent of its solid waste to recycling, and the target is to divert 50 percent by the end of this fiscal year. The Postal Service also created the USPS BlueEarth federal recycling program to make it easy for federal agencies to recycle inkjet cartridges and unwanted electronic devices. Federal agencies simply send eligible items through the mail at no charge to a certified recycler that cleans data from the devices. A similar service is offered to Postal Service customers through the Return For Good program, which allows you to recycle eligible small electronics through participating third-party vendors and even get cash back for certain items.

For business mailers, the Postal Service recently launched Secure Destruction, an optional service that lets First-Class Mail customers direct postal employees to shred and trash their undeliverable First Class letters rather than return them.

Still, sustainability practices are constantly evolving and there’s always more to do. Indeed, our audit work identified some immediate opportunities for the Postal Service to increase recycling revenue by improving collection methods and recycling plastics.

We welcome your input. What more could the Postal Service do around sustainability programs? What programs should it consider for individual customers? For business customers? For suppliers?

Next week, our blog will look at the progress the Postal Service and other posts have made toward achieving their goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions 20 percent by 2020. 

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