Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 21: Measuring the environmental benefit of reducing the United States Postal Service’s operations
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has seen mail volumes collapse in recent years, and current forecasts show that the erosion of mail volumes is expected to continue into the future. Mail volumes declined by more than 9 billion pieces in PFY2010, and then further declined by 1.7 percent in PFY2011. Total mail volume in PFY2011 was 168 billion pieces, a figure not seen since 1992 when total mail volume was 166 billion pieces. As a result, USPS has embarked on unprecedented cost-cutting measures, and plans additional cuts to eliminate $20 billion in costs by PFY2015 to return USPS to a positive net income in PFY2013. To date, much of the public discourse has centered on the financial benefit of reducing the size of USPS’s operations. While clear financial benefits exist from consolidating processing operations, retail locations, and the associated transportation, little attention has yet been paid to the environmental benefits realized from reducing the size of USPS operations. So little attention has been paid that in fact, USPS published an advance notice on September 20, 2011 to solicit comments on the Mail Processing Network Rationalization Initiative; at the end of the public comment period on October 21, 2011 not one of the over 4,200 comments received related to the environmental benefit from reducing the size of USPS operations.
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