USPS Drops Size Allocations for Collection Bins

USPS Seemingly Small Size Standards Change Is Actually Extremely Significant

     In direct response to recent pressures regarding mail-borne threats, the United States Postal Service (USPS) reduced the acceptable size of mail deposited in blue collection boxes.  Acknowledging that the majority of mail hazards are deposited in USPS collection boxes, this change will affect future threats in several ways.  Obviously, mail items will become smaller and more compact. As a result, more small packages are needed to move the same amount of contraband, driving the need for ever-more sophisticated detection capabilities.  The overall effect is an increased requirement for technology that can detect at lower levels than previously required.

     The size change is intended to reduce threats from packages from unknown and possibly nefarious chains of custody.  Previously accepted sizes, approximately 4”x8”x12” are now reduced to 1/8 the size. The maximum allowable weight is now only 10 ounces, roughly 25% less than in previously accepted mail. According to the new requirements, “Customers who need to mail packages with postage stamps that are larger than one-half inch thick or heavier than 10 ounces must conduct the transaction in person at a Post Office retail counter.

     This directive was sent out in a postal bulletin, to employees, by the USPS without advertising to the public:  ”Effective October 1, 2019, mail pieces bearing stamps for postage that are more than one-half inch thick or weigh more than 10 ounces will be prohibited from entering the mail stream through collection boxes, building mail chutes, and Post Office mail slots.”

What you need to know from the USPS:

·        Carriers have been instructed not to accept packages that do not fit the restricted criteria, even in face-to-face transactions (these transactions must occur at a Post Office Retail location).

·        Items that cannot be returned immediately are to be isolated and returned to sender via surface transportation only.

For additional information on this and other emerging threats contact:                     USPS Link:

What if there is no return address shown?

The supervisor, manager, or postmaster will contact the addressee by phone and describe the mailpiece to the addressee, providing the city and state of the postmark, if possible. The addressee should be asked: a. Are you expecting the package? b. If yes, does this mailpiece contain anything liquid, fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous such as lithium batteries or perfume?

If the addressee is expecting the mailpiece and confirms that it does not contain anything liquid, fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous, the supervisor, manager, or post-master must:

-Identify the mailpiece via a $0.00 PVI, meter strip, or AVSEC stamp.

-Cancel the postage (if not already canceled).

-Apply Label 127, Surface Transportation Only, and transport the mailpiece via surface transportation only. The supervisor, manager, or postmaster must contact the Inspection Service if the addressee:

-Has no phone number that can be identified by using directory assistance, the phone book, or Internet;

Is not expecting the package; or

-Cannot confirm that the mailpiece does not contain anything liquid, fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous.