U.S. Postal Service Uses Leading Technologies to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

WASHINGTON — From server consolidation to ink cartridge recycling, the U.S. Postal Service is using leading-edge technologies to support energy conservation, recycling and waste reduction.

These initiatives also resulted in more than $2.25 million in cost avoidance last fiscal year.

“Going green isn’t just good for the environment — it’s good business,” said George Wright, vice president, Information Technology Operations. “Using technology in creative ways has helped the Postal Service reduce energy consumption levels in facilities, use less paper, lower the time that computers stay turned on, and reduce travel costs.”

Over the past three years, USPS Information Technology (IT) has implemented a program to reduce power consumption at data centers using a technology that allows multiple applications to run on a single server. This ongoing process, called “virtualization,” maximizes the available resources of each server and has enabled the Postal Service to eliminate more than 1,600 servers and reduce hardware maintenance costs by $2 million. The Postal Service also has converted 40 percent of workstations to power-saving monitors and replaced outmoded equipment with energy-efficient units, earning rebates of more than $250,000 from power companies.

In addition to energy reduction, USPS IT is using fewer printers and less paper as part of the “PRIME” (PRint and IMaging Environment) initiative. IT has reduced the number of stand-alone printers through networking and decreased the number of pages printed by switching the default printer setting to back-and-front printing. Printer paper used is at least 30 percent recyclable and the Postal Service has established a recycling program for ink and toner cartridges. Organization-wide, recycled wastepaper, cardboard, cans, plastics and other materials generated $12 million dollars, an increase of more than 40 percent from the previous year.

Green IT also is helping Postal Service employees and customers improve their carbon footprint. The Postal Service’s Wide Area Network (WAN) supports live video multicasts and webinars for more than 250,000 users. These technologies reduce fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions by enabling greater use of online meetings and telecommuting.

“Our mission is to deliver now — and for future generations,” said Ross Philo, chief information officer and executive vice president. “By embracing the latest technologies, we can find new and better ways to do business and leave a greener footprint across America.”

Employees aren’t the only ones who can save fuel. Thanks to the Postal Service’s award-winning website usps.com, customers can skip the trip to the Postal Service and ship from the convenience of their home or office. More than 1.2 million customers visit usps.com every day to print postage-paid shipping labels, schedule a free package pickup, buy stamps and order supplies online, change their address, and put mail on hold ? while saving time and fuel in the process.

The Postal Service is recognized as an environmental innovator and leader, and has been honored with more than 70 major environmental awards, including 39 White House Closing the Circle Awards for environmental stewardship.

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