WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Postal Service has won two environmental awards — one for a revenue-generating recycling program and another for an E-85 alternative-fuel project. The White House Closing the Circle awards recognize federal agencies for outstanding achievements that result in significant contributions to the environment.

In 2006, the total solid waste management program recycled 8.6 million pounds of undeliverable mail, plastic film, and cardboard. This program also generated more than $203,000 in revenue. And, the E-85 alternative-fuel usage project put 584 ethanol-capable vehicles on the road in Minnesota, resulting in a 65-percent increase in ethanol fuel use from 2003 to 2006.

The total waste management program relies on the Postal Service transportation network to recover recyclables from USPS trash. Removing recyclables from trash reduces landfill volume as well as trash disposal costs. The Postal Service then sells the recyclables.

The Postal Service works with the state of Minnesota and the Minnesota Lung Association to promote the proliferation of E-85 fueling sites. The USPS deploys delivery vehicles to Post Offices near these sites and uses a vehicle tracking system to monitor and maximize E-85 use when economical.