Postal Service recycling

277,994 tons

recycled paper, plastic, etc

In 2021, the Postal Service recycled 176,416 tons of mixed paper, 78,044 tons of cardboard, 4293 tons of plastic, 2733 tons of metal, 895 tons of electronic equipment and more. The combined total of all solid waste recycled in 2021 was 277,994 tons.

* | Tags: Common good USPS Fact #534 | March 7, 2022

The Postal Service is an environmental leader. We believe it’s our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.

  • The USPS National Recycling Operation uses our existing transportation network to backhaul recyclables, particularly mixed paper, from Post Offices to central collection hubs for consolidation.
  • In 2021, the Postal Service recycled 176,416 tons of mixed paper, 78,044 tons of cardboard, 4293 tons of plastic, 2733 tons of metal, 895 tons of electronic equipment and more. The combined total of all solid waste recycled in 2021 was 277,994 tons.
  • The Postal Service collaborates with large mailers to securely process and destroy undeliverable-as-addressed or return-to-sender First-Class Mail with its USPS BlueEarth Secure Destruction mail service. This is a win-win. The program helps reduce mailing industry carbon impact and reduces costs. In 2021, the Postal Service securely processed and recycled 111.76 million pieces of mail.
  • The USPS BlueEarth Federal Recycling Program transports and recycles used electronics for federal agencies with no shipping or item disposition costs. This free program is available to all federal agencies and federal employees. Thirty-seven U.S. federal agencies are enrolled in this sustainable mail service program and in 2021 recycled 268,745 pounds and refurbished 188,501 pounds of inkjet/toner cartridges and small electronics.