The Postal Service’s Pacific Area was recently recognized as a national leader in purchasing products made of recycled materials.
The area received a Federal Green Challenge Award, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives to organizations that conserve resources.
In its citation, the EPA noted that Pacific Area — which comprises California, Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Islands — purchased more than 27.7 million pounds of paper with recycled content during the fiscal year that ended last September, a significant increase from the previous year.
The EPA also noted the environmental benefits of using recycled paper. According to the agency’s calculations, the Postal Service’s recycled paper purchasing in 2018 was equivalent to conserving more than 545,000 gallons of gasoline, or more than 700 households’ annual energy usage.
In addition to Pacific Area, the EPA recognized the Drug Enforcement Administration for reducing water usage at its lab in Vista, CA.
“EPA is recognizing facilities across the federal government for their leadership in improving waste management, conserving water and other important efforts to improve environmental outcomes,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
The Postal Service’s efforts to promote recycling are part of its broader focus on sustainability, which also includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting energy and water usage.
Pacific Area employees said they’re proud to receive the recognition from the EPA.
“I’m glad we can use recycled paper products,” said Paulette Keller, a USPS technician in San Diego who is responsible for ordering copy paper. “It just makes so much sense.”