Postal Service and Mailing Industry Mail-related Recycling
Accomplishments and Postal Opportunities--interim ResultseBook - 2007
In fiscal year 2006, the United States Postal Service (USPS) was responsible for discarding about 6.1 billion pieces of undeliverable-as-addressed Standard Mail (a class of bulk advertising mail that includes catalogs and circulars). Some of this mail was recycled, but a large quantity of it was treated as waste and simply thrown away. Standard Mail is increasing in prominence due, in part, to its importance to businesses, nonprofits, and others as an effective way for (1) providing consumers with information on their products and services and (2) soliciting contributions from mail recipients. Some mail recipients, however, view Standard Mail as an annoyance that also poses privacy and environmental concerns. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Standard Mail accounted for about 5.8 million tons, or 2.4 percent, of municipal solid waste (otherwise known as trash or garbage) in 2005. Of this amount, 64 percent was placed in a landfill or incinerated, and 36 percent was recycled. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act required GAO to report--by December 20, 2007--on, among other matters, USPS mail-related recycling accomplishments and additional recycling opportunities. For mail-related recycling accomplishments (initiatives), we expanded our work to include the mailing industry and other stakeholders, as appropriate. For this report on our interim results, our objectives were as follows: (1) describe the recent initiatives of USPS, the mailing industry, and other stakeholders with respect to four mail-related recycling topics, and (2) convey stakeholder-identified opportunities for USPS to engage in, or encourage others to engage in, activities related to these topics, as well as factors to consider--such as mission compatibility, logistics, and cost--in deciding whether to adopt these opportunities.
Publisher: [Washington, D.C.] : U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 
Characteristics: 35 p. (online resource) : digital, PDF file