You hear a lot about sustainability, but do you know why it’s important?
To help mark Energy Awareness Month in October, Chief Sustainability Officer Jennifer Beiro-Réveillé recently sat down with Link to discuss sustainability and its importance to the Postal Service.
What’s your role as the USPS chief sustainability officer?
My job is to lead the Postal Service commitment to leadership in sustainability, and I endeavor to do that by creating a culture of conservation through initiatives and solutions that engage our employees, customers, suppliers and federal peers.
Why is a culture of conservation important?
As the only shipping organization with the responsibility of delivering to every residence and place of business every day, six days a week, the Postal Service has an amazing opportunity to tell our sustainability story.
For example, did you know that our Priority Mail boxes are Sustainable Forestry Initiative or Forest Stewardship Council certified? This means the paper to make the boxes comes from well-managed forests. The boxes also contain recycled content, and they are recyclable.
What else is the Postal Service doing to lead the way in recycling efforts?
I’m very proud of our National Recycling Operation, which allows our vehicles — after dropping off mail at branches and offices — to take that facility’s recyclable materials to a recycling hub on their return trip.
The National Recycling Operation reduces solid waste disposal costs and generates recycling revenue when trash is diverted to recycling.
In fiscal 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30, 2018), we were able to divert more than 51 percent of our waste from landfills, which is pretty impressive.
That year, we also recycled more than 250,000 tons of paper, cardboard, plastic and other recyclable material, reducing landfill costs by more than $5 million and generating over $8 million in recycling revenue.
In what other ways is USPS promoting sustainability?
We’re making great strides in promoting alternative energy and energy conservation initiatives.
In addition to the 35,000-panel solar array at the Los Angeles Processing and Distribution Center and the Washington Network Distribution Center’s hydrogen fuel cell installation, there are several future solar projects in the works for next year.
We also look to reduce our carbon footprint by switching to more efficient LED lighting, reducing our water usage and remotely monitoring facility energy usage.
How can employees get involved?
One of the biggest ways employees can get involved is through participation in a lean green team.
It’s inspiring what these teams have done over the years with energy reduction efforts and waste management.
To get involved, employees can visit the Lean Green Team Initiative section on the Sustainability Blue page. Employees can be recognized through the Postmaster General Sustainability Excellence Award.
How is the Postal Service marking Energy Awareness Month?
Throughout the month, we’re distributing information for employees on how to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a culture of conservation in their personal lives. Some facilities will also hold events for employees.
I look forward to our continued progress on reducing energy use and making environmentally conscious decisions.
Employees, customers or other federal agencies seeking more information about USPS sustainability initiatives can go to usps.com/green.