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.

The HSPH team focused on several key steps to implement their reuse system:

  • School-wide Communication: The Eco-Opportunity team included a call-to-action in their monthly e-newsletter alerting office members of the surplus of interoffice envelopes in administrative offices and encouraging them to contact the team to receive a used bundle, rather than ordering new ones. 
  • Expand Through Partnerships: Jen Doleva, with the help of Alanna Paiva at HSPH Accounts Payable, contacted Harvard’s Central Accounts Payable office and the University Mailroom discovering that these departments had similar abundances of interoffice envelopes. The Mailroom happily agreed to partner with HSPH to ship any office, university-wide, boxes of used envelopes.
  • Reach Out to Your Office Suppliers: Doleva and Paiva also contacted W.B. Mason, Harvard’s preferred office supply vendor, to ask if the company would be willing to help block people from ordering new envelopes. W.B. Mason was more than willing to assist, creating a pop-up notification on their website’s page for new interoffice envelopes, directing HSPH purchasers to the appropriate contacts to receive surplus envelopes at no cost.

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