Acing it

USPS is saving money — and helping the environment — by refurbishing old computers instead of buying new ones.

The USPS Remote Encoding Center was preparing to install a new computerized system last year when the team overseeing the project ran into a problem: They didn’t have enough computers.

The center, located in Salt Lake City, helps determine where poorly addressed mail and parcels should be delivered.

The team determined they needed approximately 600 computers to operate a new package encoding system, but the cost would be $500,000.

Then the team hit upon an ace of an idea: They would use old ACE computers instead of buying new ones.

While the old machines weren’t as powerful as new ones, they were still functional and could operate the encoding software.

Hundreds of surplus computers destined for recycling were brought back to the center, rebooted and plugged into the encoding system, saving the Postal Service a half million dollars.

The project’s success helped the facility earn one of this year’s 10 Postmaster General Sustainability Excellence Awards.

“The Remote Encoding Center takes sustainability seriously,” said Maintenance Manager Timothy Reynolds.

In addition to recycling equipment, the center’s technicians regularly find new uses for broken keyboards, monitors and other electronics.

“We don’t just talk about sustainability. We take action,” Reynolds said.