Letter to the Editor

Postal Service going 'greener' every day

Sunday, November 1, 2009

To the Editor:

From blue collecting boxes, to blue uniforms, to the blue eagle logo, some people probably don't know just how green the Postal Service really is.

In fact, the Postal Service is one of the greenest of all federal agencies.

This month the Postal Service announced the results of its first greenhouse gas report, its "carbon footprint."

The report showed that the Postal Service's "direct" carbon footprint is only one twentieth of 1 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in America.

That's pretty green for an agency with 220,000 vehicles ---- the largest civilian fleet in the world ---- 34,000 facilities (more than McDonalds and Starbucks combined) and 618,000 employees.

The Postal Service is on track to meet its stated goal of reducing energy use 30 percent by 2015.

We plan to reduce petroleum use 20 percent by 2015, and we've increased alternative fuel use 61 percent since 2005.

We're serious about conserving energy and protecting the environment.

Here are some of the things the Postal Service put in place this year to earn its green stripes:

* Saved $3 million, and nearly 100 million kilowatts, in an agency-wide energy reduction initiative.

Postal mail processing plants in Indiana are working to install sensor lights to aid this cause.

Thermostats are set lower in the winter and higher in the summer months.

And lights are being turned off, when possible, in postal facilities around Indiana,

* Avoided $1.05 million in costs via green information technology initiatives.

Across Indiana, printers in post office locations have been reduced by about 500.

Those remaining are set to default to double-sided copies and color printers default to black and white printing,

* Helped customers divert 24,000 tons of paper from landfills with a recycling initiative in 6,000 Post Office Box lobbies around the county, 43 of which are right here in Indiana. Indiana mail processing plants also recycle white paper and cardboard,

* Tested electric, hydrogen fuel cell, propane and natural gas delivery vehicles.

The Greater Indiana District has approximately 90 flex fuel vehicles in operation as well as a few maintenance vehicles that operate on bio-diesel fuel, and

* Retired 10,000 non-energy efficient vehicles from its fleet.

As an independent federal agency that doesn't receive tax dollars, the Postal Service is not required to take all these steps to be green, but the Postal Service has been and continues to be an environmental leader, committed to delivering now without compromising the needs of the future.

For its sustainability achievements, the Postal Service has been honored with more than 75 major environmental awards, including 40 White House Closing the Circle awards, the 2009 Climate Change Champion of the Year award, and the 2009 Postal Technology International Environmental Achievement of the Year.

For all the blue you may see, the Postal Service is your good green neighbor.

E. Lynn Smith

District Manager, Customer Service and Sales

Greater Indiana District, U. S. Postal Service