In addition to saving money, by cutting out Saturday delivery, the U.S. Postal Service would trim its annual emissions by up to a half million metric tons.
The USPS estimates that mail volume will drop to about 150 billion pieces in 2010, down nearly 30 percent from the 213 billion pieces delivered in 2007.
Without changes in its operating patterns, USPS estimates it will post cumulative losses of up to $238 billion by 2020, so cutting Saturday delivery seems a likely option.
In addition to residential delivery and pick up, the plan would cut out services to businesses on Saturday.
The company’s jets would continue to make sorties on Saturday, however.
Reducing street delivery would save anywhere from 315,000 to 503,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, or the same as eliminating the annual emissions from 60,000 to 96,000 cars.
This amount represents 3-5 percent of USPS’s 2007 emissions from facilities, owned vehicles and contract transportation, which totaled 11.2 million metric tons.
Nearly all the GHG reductions will come from fuel saved by reducing the miles driven. Some minor savings will be possible because of reduced energy use at large facilities, USPS said.
USPS recently contracted with Eaton Corporation to work on energy efficiency projects at postal facilities in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and South Carolina. Projects include energy engineering, management and audits as well as improvements in lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
In November, the USPS issued its first-ever sustainability report, which showed a decrease in total energy use of 9 percent from 2005 to 2008.
In 2008 the agency used 123 million gigajoules, compared to 131 million GJ in 2007, 134 million GJ in 2006 and 136 million GJ in 2005.
The USPS reduced energy use at its facilities by 18 percent from 2005 to 2008, or about 14 percent per piece of mail delivered, according to the 2008 Sustainability Report: “Delivering a Greener Tomorrow.” (PDF)