Need to know

Scanning snapshot. The Postal Service’s national scanning rating was 97.86 percent during the week ending April 27, up from one week earlier.

Dakotas (99.26 percent) topped the districts, while Western (98.25 percent) led the areas.

To see the latest results, go to the Enterprise Analytics site and select “Analytics Tools,” followed by “DES 2 — Scan Performance.”

Three cheers. The USPS Corporate Information Security Office (CISO) received three awards at the recent Federal Information Systems Security Educators’ Association conference in Gaithersburg, MD.

CISO’s 5 Ways to Stay CyberSafe video and site won the best awareness video and best awareness website awards, respectively.

A CyberSafe at USPS charging kit — a promotional item containing a car charger, a portable charging stick, and a USB cord for charging electronics on-the-go — received a peers’ choice award in the motivational item category.

The conference is organized each year by the association, also known as FISSEA, an organization that helps federal agencies strengthen cybersecurity training and awareness.

The CyberSafe at USPS Blue or LiteBlue pages have additional information and tips for postal employees.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to

Selfies in Seattle

USPS customer stands next to blue box

When Seattle resident David Peterman is asked why he visited more than 340 mailboxes throughout the city, he has a simple answer.

“Why not?”

Peterman spent about a year taking selfies with the blue collection boxes and documenting his adventure through a Tumblr blog, Mailboxes of Seattle. (Some employees are unable to view Tumblr sites on postal computers.)

“When I told people about this project, they would wonder: Why would I do this? But then they would open up and start talking about their favorite one. It also awakened little memories in people growing up with mailboxes,” Peterman said.

He got the idea for his project after discovering a map of the city’s blue boxes and wondering how long it would take to visit each one. To find out for himself, he made a goal of visiting at least one mailbox a day for a year.

Peterman began his journey by first going to the four corners of the city and then working his way back in, visiting mailboxes randomly.

“This … took me to parts of the city I’ve never been,” he said.

Peterman made fun discoveries along the way — like a box adorned with googly eyes — and he picked up several followers, including a letter carrier who tipped him off to a box at an old bus stop where the vegetation is so overgrown, you can barely see it.

Peterman was joined by friends and fans he had never met when he finished his quest in mid-February by visiting his 346th and final collection box — although he soon learned about two more boxes he didn’t know about.

Yes, he visited those, too — and snapped the selfies to prove it.

Bigger and better

Employees gather in plant

Karlett Gilbert doesn’t shy away from a challenge.

Gilbert, plant manager at the North Houston Processing and Distribution Center in Texas, knew she and her employees had to step up their game when USPS introduced its National Recycling Operation (NRO) a few years ago.

She also knew they were up to the task.

“We saw it as an opportunity to produce bigger, better results for our organization,” Gilbert said.

Through the NRO, the Postal Service has expanded and standardized its recycling efforts. This includes using available space on delivery vehicles to transport mixed paper to a network of recycling hubs at USPS plants across the nation.

North Houston is one of the largest hubs, serving several Southern Area districts.

Before the NRO, North Houston recycled about 200 tons of mixed paper each month.

Now the plant averages about 600 tons each month — more than any other USPS facility.

Although this has meant major operational changes for the plant, it has also meant bigger savings. Trash expenses have plunged 20 percent, while annual recycling revenue has increased $35,000.

Also: The amount of waste the plant recycles instead of sending to landfills has soared 90 percent.

North Houston’s success recently helped the facility earn a Postmaster General Sustainability Excellence Award.

Chief Sustainability Officer Tom Day called North Houston “a role model for how other plants can use the National Recycling Operation to reduce their environmental impact while generating more revenue for the Postal Service.”

Gilbert takes pride in her plant’s achievements, including the fact North Houston didn’t need additional equipment or employees to handle its bigger load.

“It took a few years to get on track, but I knew we could balance our operations and get the job done,” she said.

Older Americans Month

Famly looks at iPad

Older Americans Month, an annual celebration of older adults, began May 1.

This year’s theme is “Engage at Every Age.” The theme “emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental and emotional well-being,” according to the Administration for Community Living, the federal agency that organizes Older Americans Month.

The number of people age 65 and older in the United States reached 49.2 million in 2016, accounting for 15.2 percent of the total population, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last year.

By 2060, the number of people 65 and older is projected to reach 98.2 million, comprising 1 in 4 U.S. residents, according to the bureau. Of this number, 19.7 million will be 85 or older.

The Postal Service is encouraging employees to participate in Older Americans Month by helping to raise awareness of aging issues.

The Administration for Community Living’s site has more information.