Postal Service and Mailing Industry Mail-Related Recycling: Accomplishments and Postal Opportunities--Interim Results

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "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 ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. December 20, 2007.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "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."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • December 20, 2007

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Postal Service and Mailing Industry Mail-Related Recycling: Accomplishments and Postal Opportunities--Interim Results, text, December 20, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc300283/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.