Report: United States Postal Service falls short of recycling goals
- A report from the United States Postal Service (USPS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) says the agency is falling short of recycling goals that were set under the National Recycling Program (NRP).
- As of Sept. 2017, cash savings from trash reduction are at $5.1 million, just 16% of the $32.8 million goal. Recycling revenue has totaled $3.4 million out of a projected $14.3 million, or 24% of the goal. The OIG found USPS headquarters did not fully roll out the program execution plan and that there were no controls to guarantee accurate recording of revenue and cost activity.
- The OIG recommended the USPS Chief Sustainability Officer better coordinate with managers to implement financial monitoring and oversight responsibilities, adjust NRP goals based on delays in execution, and coordinate with managers to implement an oversight mechanism for general ledger account entries.
The NRP was established in 2014 at an initial cost of $33 million in order to "drive waste and cost out of operations," bring in revenue, and further sustainability efforts, according to the OIG. That money was spent to purchase "necessary equipment" and to meet "related expenses of implementing the program nationally."
Since it was first launched, the program has been implemented in 149 out of 178 planned sites. This specific audit examined 12 USPS sites in the Greensboro and Suncoast postal districts.
The OIG found that, in those districts, recycle revenue and expenses were understated by over $200,000 at six assessed sites, and the Raleigh Processing & Distribution Center was underpaid by $16,477 in recycling revenue due to failure to adjust its revenue rate per ton after a freight cost adjustment by the vendor. Any and all corrective action following the report's recommendations will have to be cleared by the OIG before the issues are considered resolved.
Other large organizations could look to the OIG's recommendations and apply them to their own recycling programs and goals — largely by noting the importance of leadership from high levels of management and strict financial recordkeeping as it pertains to generating revenue from selling recyclables.
Those in the recycling business can capitalize on corporate and agency sustainability and recycling goals, of course. Large organizations may be looking to secure large collection contracts or, at the very least, can become reliable sources of different feedstocks, including shredded office paper or old corrugated cardboard.
- Audit Report: National Recycling Program Office of the Inspector General
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