The life cycle of those seemingly ubiquitous interoffice envelopes may seem trivial, but as a few Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) employees found, questioning the path the envelopes take between departments can lead to cost savings and waste reduction. 

We spend a lot of time seeking that one big idea, and there are plenty of really simple ones that are easy to implement now.

It all started when Endowment, Gift, and Chart of Accounts Administrator Jen Doleva discovered that while interoffice envelopes were piling up in some departments, such as her own in Financial Services, they were absent from others, resulting in unnecessary purchasing of new envelopes.  In an effort to reduce costs and promote reuse, Doleva, who is a member of the HSPH’s Eco-Opportunity green team, met with the Director of Accounts Payable for HSPH to determine how often departments were ordering new interoffice envelopes. After running a report, results found that over the course of 15 months, $950 was spent on interoffice envelopes alone. 

Doleva and fellow Eco-Opportunity team members then successfully launched a new reuse system for interoffice envelopes. "It’s great ideas like this one from our Green Team members that truly can make a difference in our efforts to be a more sustainable university. We spend a lot of time seeking that one big idea, and there are plenty of really simple ones that are easy to implement now," says Doleva. 

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