Recycled mail Undeliverable material keeps homes warm

The Postal Service recycles 200,000 tons of undeliverable Marketing Mail each year, and now some of that mail is being turned into home insulation.

USPS is marking America Recycles Day by highlighting a recycling test taking place in Utah.

America Recycles Day, held each Nov. 15, is a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of recycling.

In September, three Utah facilities began sending undeliverable Marketing Mail to a plant owned by Greenfiber, a company that makes home insulation material from recycled paper.

Called cellulose-based insulation, this material is an alternative to fiberglass and formaldehyde-treated insulation material.

The Utah facilities — Provo East Bay Processing and Distribution Facility, Salt Lake City Processing and Distribution Center, and Salt Lake City Auxiliary Service Facility — receive undeliverable Marketing Mail on return shipments from the Post Offices they serve.

The facilities then consolidate the recyclable mail into special containers, which are then transported to Greenfiber’s mill, a process that is expected to generate revenue for the Postal Service.

“In the past, we paid a company to recycle this waste stream for us,” said Jerry Jensen, a USPS environmental field support specialist in Ogden, UT. “Now it is a revenue stream for us because we are working directly with Greenfiber.”

Since the pilot began, 277 tons of undeliverable Marketing Mail and cardboard have been recycled.

The test is part of the Postal Service’s broader recycling efforts. The organization recycled 297,000 tons of material -— primarily paper, cardboard and plastic — from Post Offices and mail processing facilities during fiscal year 2019 (Oct. 1, 2018-Sept. 30, 2019).

The Sustainability Blue page has more information about USPS recycling initiatives.


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