Community Waste

WashU Mail Services Save Thousands of Pounds of Paper

Washington University Mail Services collects, processes and distributes nearly five million pieces of incoming United States Postal Service (USPS) mail each year.  About a third of this mail (or 1.67 million pieces) is undeliverable if staff or students are no longer at the University or if the commercial mail is unwanted.

How is waste being reduced?

Mail Services is collaborating with Intra-Mail Network, parent company of Waste-Free Mail, to reduce a significant amount of mail waste — the majority of which is immediately placed in recycling bins.  IMN’s patented process of address hygiene resulted in a total of 2,290 fewer publications s being mailed. In addition, address correction/formatting on another 4,565 pieces transformed them from undeliverable to deliverable.  Combining the weights of the various pieces with the WU suppression/correction numbers amounts to roughly 14,942 pounds (7.47 tons) of paper.

What is Waste-Free Mail?

Washington University Mail Services recognizes that some commercial mail is wanted and necessary.  Waste-Free Mail ( is a resource for companies, associations and organizations that produce mail (e.g., journals, periodicals, catalogs, unsolicited materials) to have their address lists cleaned and certified enabling campus distribution. The Waste Free Mail system also provides the option for University faculty/staff to unsubscribe or request a digital version (when available) saving money for both the university and mailer.

Environmental Impact of Waste Reduction (7.47 Tons)


What’s Next?

In the coming months Mail Services will continue to collaborate with Intra-Mail Network and begin to outline the inclusion of Waste-Free Mail best practices on the campus, to include a guideline addressing waste in the mail stream. Please consider supporting Mail Services as it undertakes this important initiative to save time, money, and natural resources, while ensuring information continues to be delivered in a timely and efficient manner. If you would like to get involved or have questions, contact