What Is a USPS Mail Collection Box and How Is It Helpful to Customers?
The Post Office has nearly 139,868 USPS mail collection boxes across the country to help people drop off their items conveniently!
This vast network makes USPS one of the largest postal organizations globally, delivering to more than 150.4 million and 12.8 million residential and commercial addresses, respectively.
These collection receptacles come in various types to help segregate mailers from the beginning and bring in more efficiency in the delivery process!
But what is a USPS mail collection box, and how can you find one?
Read on to learn everything about these mailboxes, enabling USPS to make mail drop-offs a breeze for everyone!
What Is a USPS Mail Collection Box?
Mail collection boxes are small container-like receptacles to help customers deposit their mailpieces for delivery. You usually see them as blue boxes, post-mounted units, or building chutes.
Some USPS mail collection boxes or drop-off points are available inside a postal facility. Thus, you don’t need to stand in a long queue to post an item; you can drop them off at a unit nearby, assuming it is prepaid.
Customers also need to meet other requirements to use a USPS collection box, like not dropping off items that are
- Hard to fit in a chute,
- Weigh more than 14 ounces, or
- Not having the appropriate shipping labels, postage, address, etc.
What Are the Different Types of USPS Mail Collection Boxes?
There are over a dozen types of USPS mail collection boxes in the US for different mailers and customers. Here is a list to help you avoid dropping your items at the wrong locations:
You can find the USPS mail collection boxes in the form of chutes within high-rise buildings, like hotels and offices. They look like glass-fronted tubes with small slots to let people drop their letters, postcards, etc.
Mail chutes are available on every floor of these buildings, letting people drop the mailpieces through the tube. A carrier later collects them from a depository on the ground floor.
Wall or Lobby Drop
The postal workers affix these USPS mail collection boxes to a wall or lobby, where customers can deposit mail items through an opening. A carrier collects these mailers later during the day and takes them to the Post Office.
Snorkel Collection Box Receptacle
The USPS designed snorkel receptacles for motorists to stop and drop their mailers within seconds. This USPS collection box is available at curbsides and has a chute to let people deposit mail. Some also call it the motorist mail chute or courtesy box.
Standard USPS Collection Box (Blue Box)
We often refer to the USPS mail collection boxes as blue boxes because most of them are blue. These receptacles are open for the public to drop personal, formal, or business correspondence.
They have a bright USPS logo, allowing you to spot them from a distance. And they are spacious to let people deposit mailpieces without worrying if other people get there first and block the box with numerous items.
Local Collection Box Receptacles
Local USPS mail collection boxes are available on almost every street to help you drop your mailpieces for local delivery using a local stamp. For example, you may use this unit to send something to someone living in the same locality or city.
They help you get your mailers to the USPS delivery infrastructure and fulfill deliveries the fastest.
USPS Priority Mail Collection Box
These receptacles are custom drop-off points to allow the public to deposit postage-paid Priority Mail Express mailers. They need to prepare these mailpieces according to the USPS guidelines to use these boxes.
Such a USPS Priority Mail collection box is white, and the postal workers specially mark it to avoid confusion.
Package Drop Units (PDUs)
PDUs are a newer version of USPS mail collection boxes to assist commercial or large-volume mailers in shipping prepaid items.
They are unavailable for the public or individual customers and only accept items that meet the relevant USPS guidelines. Business mailers must pay using any of the following methods to become eligible to drop their mailpieces in PDUs:
Cluster USPS Mail Collection Boxes
Cluster boxes are centralized units containing over eight individual compartments to accommodate merchandise, magazines, etc. Their purpose is to fit in more items for several days.
Firm USPS mail collection boxes serve the same purpose as mail chutes within high-rise buildings. You can generally find them in business buildings, like the Sears Tower, John Hancock Center, etc.
A receiving USPS mail collection box is available only for business customers, depending on the type of mailers they want to drop.
Racks are cooperative mailing drop-off units that you may find in office buildings or large housing societies. These USPS mail collection boxes function like community mailboxes.
Depots or Hubs
They aren’t the usual USPS mail collection boxes but drop-off points on collection routes. So a person can wait for a mail carrier to come and collect their mailpieces.
What Mailpieces Can You Deposit In a USPS Mail Collection Box?
Space limitations and transportation security restrict you from dropping all mail items into a USPS collection box. If you do so, the postal workers return your mail to let you drop them at the correct deposit point. So ensure that you mention your return address on every item.
However, the employees might redirect your mail pieces directly to the correct USPS mail collection boxes unless you haven’t added the correct postage. Please note that the delivery times or service guarantees don’t come into effect until the item reaches the proper mail stream.
Here are some items you can deposit in a USPS mail collection box for delivery:
- Domestic Business Reply Mail (BRM).
- Domestic Priority Mail Express.
- First-Class Mail.
- Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International.
- Metered or stamped international mailpieces.
- Prepaid Priority Mail Flat-Rate Envelope.
- APO, DPO, or FPO Mail.
- Free Matter for the Blind, etc.
Please note: This is not an extensive list, and there are specific restrictions and requirements. Kindly check the USPS website for more detailed information.
What Are the Pickup Timings for the USPS Mail Collection Boxes?
All USPS mail collection boxes have different pickup timings, and the Post Office posts them on the receptacles using labels. You can check out the days and times on the box to follow the schedule accordingly.
Some times may vary on weekends, and there could be occasional changes in the schedule. And the regular pickup timings may not apply on federal holidays or the days before a holiday.
The USPS mail collection boxes also have Quick Response (QR) codes which you can scan using your phone and view the pickup times label. They help you find the nearest Post Office, distance, hours of operation, etc.
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How to Find a USPS Mail Collection Box?
As said earlier, the US postal services have more than 139,868 blue boxes, meaning you can find one around you easily.
If not, you can use the USPS website to locate your neighborhood and check if a USPS collection box is available nearby. The tool may ask you to fill in your current ZIP code and the ZIP codes of the areas where you want to find a mailbox. You can scroll down and click on “Collection Boxes” to get a list.
The website shows you all the USPS mail collection boxes within the selected vicinity. You can visit any of them and drop your mail effectively!
Typically, the Post Office places the drop-off receptacles in locations with high population density and foot traffic. So if you reside in a low-population or rural area, you may find it hard to find a USPS collection box within walking distance.
How Can Using PostGrid’s Direct Mail Solutions Help Your Business?
PostGrid’s direct mail services strive to help companies of all industries send high-quality mailers without worrying about printing and logistics! They don’t need to find out where a USPS mail collection box is or when they should drop off their mailpieces.
Instead, they can focus on more crucial aspects of their business, like targeting new clients, retaining customers, and driving more sales.
PostGrid lets its clients customize their mailers, verify mailing lists, add personalization, track items, etc. In short, it is a one-stop solution to help you print and mail items affordably and effectively.
Our services help you in various ways to make the best use of USPS mail collection boxes and save on postage. Here’s how:
- Presorting items: Most USPS mail collection boxes have a long list of specifications you must follow. PostGrid helps you save time and effort by fulfilling these requirements on your behalf, like presorting mailers according to ZIP codes.
- Attaching IMBs: Intelligent Mail Barcodes help you track your mailpieces, whether you drop them in a USPS collection box or lodge them at the counter. We allow you to add IMBs to every mail item you send—to increase efficiency and keep you updated.
- Labeling or affixing stamps: PostGrid lets you use metered postage or imprints effortlessly. You also need not bother about labeling your items with the correct mailing addresses or carrying them to a USPS mail collection box for delivery.
Our direct mail services allow you to create your items online, print them, and ship them using USPS—all in only two business days. Click here now if you are interested in knowing more about how PostGrid helps you avoid the hassle of using USPS mail collection boxes and automate everything!