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Five years after launch, NRO saves millions

Customers can recycle discarded mail in Post Office lobbies.
Through the National Recycling Operation, customers can recycle discarded mail in Post Office lobbies.

The Postal Service is marking the fifth anniversary of its National Recycling Operation, an initiative that helps the organization to reduce waste while saving tens of millions of dollars.

The operation, also known as the NRO, standardizes postal recycling efforts and conserves energy by using USPS delivery vehicles to “backhaul” recyclables to recycling centers on return trips from facilities.

More than 17,000 Post Offices, stations and branches participate in the NRO. During 2017, the program allowed USPS to recycle 232,000 tons of paper, saving $14 million in landfill costs while generating $7 million in revenue.

“The National Recycling Operation has helped transform the Postal Service’s approach to sustainability,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Tom Day. “Through this initiative, we are operating more efficiently, reducing waste and realizing significant cost savings.”

During 2017, the Erie, PA, Processing and Distribution Center — one of the facilities that participate in the NRO — boosted employee recycling efforts by 15 percent, reducing trash removal costs by more than $18,700.

“We’ve witnessed firsthand the value that the National Recycling Operation offers postal facilities like ours,” said Plant Manager Laura Keefe.

The Sustainability Blue page and has more information about the NRO, and the latest edition of the Sustainable Facility Update newsletter provides an overview of the program

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