In a show of support for federal sustainability initiatives, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) implemented its BlueEarth Federal Recycling Programs in 2013. Since then, this group of recycling efforts, designed to make it easy for federal agencies and their employees to safely dispose of office waste and small, unwanted electronic items, has continued to grow.
Technology is evolving faster than ever. While it provides many exciting new developments, it also means that most homes and companies are accumulating outdated electronic devices and office waste. It is becoming increasingly important for organizations to consider the issue of how to dispose of this growing amount of e-waste in an environmentally responsible way.
The USPS BlueEarth Federal Recycling Programs are free to all federal agencies and comply with existing R2 and e-Stewards certification standards. Using the programs, agencies and their employees can easily dispose of unwanted items that fall into two different categories: personal electronic items and official agency devices/equipment. Some of the most commonly recycled items are mobile phones and accessories, tablets, laptops, cameras, PC towers, printer cartridges and digital music players. Items that are not accepted include computer monitors and fax machines.
When an employee is ready to recycle an item, the process is simple. After filling out an online form that specifies the federal agency name, employee name and nature of the item, a prepaid shipping label is generated. All the employee needs to do is pack the e-waste item into a box suitable for shipping, print the label and affix it to the box. The next time a USPS truck comes to make a mail pickup or delivery, the driver will pick up the package and deliver it to a certified e-waste disposal facility. Official agency items are picked up from the agency site, while personal electronic items are picked up from the employee’s home. For agencies that generate larger amounts of e-waste, scheduled pallet pick-ups (holding approximately 50 packages) are available.
BlueEarth recyclers follow the strictest standards when it comes to user privacy, wiping all data from electronic items as soon as they arrive at the facility. In addition, e-waste disposal facilities generate regular reports in compliance with federal sustainability reporting requirements. Copies of these reports are sent back to all federal agencies that have sent e-waste items to be recycled.
In addition to the program being free for all federal agencies and employees, some additional cash-back incentives may apply for certain types of personal items, such as smartphones, tablets and other small electronics.
For details about these incentives, as well as more information regarding the BlueEarth Federal Recycling Programs, visit bluearth.usps.gov.