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Can I Drop a Package in a USPS Mailbox? (2022 Policy)

Are you searching for a quick and convenient way to send your mail?

The United States Postal Service boasts a large number of mailboxes on streets throughout the USA. These receptacles are designed for letters and other mail that is waiting to be delivered.

Using one is likely to be a much more convenient option than visiting the post office. However, you need to make sure that your mail will be delivered when you choose this option.

 If you are wondering, ‘can I drop a package in a USPS mailbox?’, then it’s time to find out…

Depositing Your Mail 

Depositing Your Mail 

You can deposit your mail in one of these boxes as long as it meets certain criteria. The United States Postal Service is very strict about the types of mail that can be collected and delivered. Let’s take a closer look at the specific criteria so you can make sure that your mail makes the grade. 

Size matters

Your mail must be a maximum of half an inch thick to fit through the slot in the box. The overall length of the mail must be a maximum of A4. Even if you manage to get your mail into the box, it will be rejected if it is too large. 

Postage

You need to make sure that you attach postage stamps to your mail before putting it in the box. Securely attach the stamps so that they do not come off in the box. You also need to make sure that you have attached the correct amount of postage. You can find a guideline for this on the United States Postal Service website.

The weight

Your mail has to weigh fourteen ounces or less to be collected and delivered. When sending your mail, you need to take both the weight of the contents and the box or envelope into account. It is a good idea to weigh your mail before dropping it into one of the boxes. 

How To Deposit Your Mail

How To Deposit Your Mail

There is much more to the process than simply posting your mail through the slot in the box. If you adopt the wrong technique, your mail is likely to be rejected. In the best-case scenario, your mail will be returned to you, and you will have to restart the process.  

Prepare your mail

First of all, make sure your mail is carefully packed, and the envelope is properly sealed. Measure and weigh your mail to make sure that it meets the specified criteria. Label and address the mail and make sure that all details are easy to read. Last but not least, make sure you have attached the correct amount of postage. 

International mail

International mail can also be deposited in one of these boxes. However, the criteria for sending international mail are more complicated than the rules for domestic mail. It is important to make sure you follow the guidelines for sending international mail. 

This includes inserting the correct customs duties to make sure your mail is not rejected. The rules for sending international mail can be confusing for those not in the know. Therefore, it is probably best to visit a post office branch if you do not send international mail regularly. 

What Can And Can’t Be Deposited In A Collection Box 

It is important to make sure you know what you are allowed to send through the mail. If you try to send prohibited items, your mail will not be delivered. Your mail is likely to be confiscated, and you could even be faced with a fine in some cases. 

Permitted mail

You can post priority mail envelopes as well as prepaid packages in one of these receptacles. All types of domestic Business Reply mail can be deposited in one of these boxes. Items with postage meter strips can be deposited in collection boxes when they are correctly labeled and meet the weight limits. 

Prohibited Items

Prohibited Items

It is not permitted to send international mail unless you fill out a customs declaration form. Your parcel will not usually be sent if it weighs more than one pound. While there are some exceptions to this rule, it is best to weigh your mail before sending it.

Some collection boxes are not designed to receive parcels. It is important to check the sign on the collection box, even if your parcel weighs less than one pound. Otherwise, your parcel may not be delivered. Three categories of prohibited mail need to be taken into account. These are hazardous materials, restricted matter, and perishable matter. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories. 

Can I Drop a Package in a USPS Mailbox – What Are The Prohibited Items?

1 Hazardous Materials

These are items that could potentially pose a risk to human health or safety during transportation. While the United States Postal Service aims to protect its customers, it is responsible for protecting its employees. Items that are sharp, like knives and scissors that could pierce packaging, fall under this category. 

Other examples of hazardous materials include:

Other examples of hazardous materials include

  • Chainsaws
  • Lawn trimmers
  • Small motors and engines
  • Used fuel tanks 
  • Small generators
  • Camping stoves
  • Gas lanterns and lamps
  • Model cars and aircraft

2 Restricted Matter

These are other items that are considered to be a risk to United States Postal Service employees. This includes liquids in glass bottles, which could become smashed and could glass to poke through envelopes. Vehicle master keys also fall under this category.

Other examples of restricted matter include:

  • Firearms
  • Cooking liquid
  • Massage oil
  • Odor-producing materials
  • Drugs
  • Other controlled substances

3 Perishable Matter

These are items that could perish and degrade during transportation and pose a health hazard. This includes most types of fresh food as well as frozen food and livestock. Plants are also considered to be perishable matter and cannot be sent through a post box. 

Other examples of perishable matter include:

Other examples of perishable matter include

  • Eggs
  • Meat and meat products
  • Fresh or frozen fish
  • Dairy products

Where To Find Mailboxes

There are around 143,000 active collection boxes scattered throughout the United States. As a result, there is a good chance that you have one within walking distance from your house. You may walk or drive past it regularly without even noticing. 

To find your nearest collection box, you need to head to the United States Postal Services website. Enter your zip code in the designated space to find all the collection boxes near you. You can use the scroll-down menu to click on the Collection Boxes link.

Usually highly populated areas…

Collection boxes tend to be placed in areas with high population density and foot traffic. The next time you are on vacation, you can make a game out of trying to spot the local collection boxes. They also provide a quick and convenient way of sending postcards to loved ones. 

What Are The Collection Times?

What Are The Collection Times

Active collection boxes are usually emptied daily by an assigned courier. When they arrive at the collection box, the United States Postal Services workers scan the barcode inside the collection box. This is done to confirm that they have collected the contents of the box.

Collection boxes are emptied before 17:00 from Monday to Friday. However, they are usually emptied at the most convenient point during the employee’s route. As a result, collection times can vary widely.

Go to a post office if it’s urgent!

If you drop your mail inside a collection box, there is a good chance it has already been emptied. In this case, your mail will not be collected until the following day. If your mail is time-sensitive, it is best to take it directly to a post office branch.

Once your mail has been collected, it takes around a week to reach its destination. In business districts of cities and other busy areas, this could be reduced to four or five days. This could be extended to slightly over a week if you live in a rural area. 

Other Info You Should Know About USPS

You always naturally have that worry that your parcel might get lost once it’s been sent. So, to put your mind at ease, take a look at Does USPS Have First Class Tracking, and if you’ve lost your receipt, Can You Track A USPS Package Without A Tracking Number for the necessary steps to be taken.

If your parcel hasn’t arrived yet that day, you’re probably wondering, Does USPS Deliver At Night, or you’d like to know What Does Delivered To An Agent Mean USPS because you weren’t home at the time of delivery.

Ever thought of working in the postal service? Well then, let’s help you pass your exam with helpful study guides that include Post Office Jobs: The Ultimate 473 Postal Exam Study Guide, the McGraw-Hill’s Postal Exams 473/473C, as well as the informative Postal Exam Secrets Study Guide: Review and Practice Tests for the USPS Virtual Entry Assessment 474, 475, 476, and 477, all available online in 2022.

Can I Drop a Package in a USPS Mailbox? – Final Thoughts 

Using a mailbox provided by the United States Postal Service saves you from having to visit the post office. 

This eliminates the need for joining a long queue and waiting for counter service. However, it is important to make sure that you correctly prepare your mail.

If you fail to attach the right amount of postage, your mail is unlikely to be delivered. You need to make sure that the contents and packing style conform to the set guidelines. Last but not least, make sure that your mail is clearly and correctly addressed and include your return address.

All the very best for posting your next Package!

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About Linda Shepard

Linda is employed by one of the biggest employment agencies in San Francisco and has over 15 years of experience in finding her clients their dream job. She prides herself on being able to match the right person to the right position, which inevitably creates a great working relationship for the employee and the company moving forward.

When she isn't writing articles or working, she enjoys gardening, socializing, and going for long walks on the beach and in nature.

She lives with her boyfriend Carl and their cat, Fluffy.

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