If you are a frequent USPS mail user, then you probably understand the need to have your packages shipped on time. USPS has over more than 15,000 locations in the United States and every day, millions of mails are shipped from every location. All the packages are collected by the letter carriers and they are shipped to the destination. But where can you drop the package? You can always drop them off at the post office or have your packages picked up from your home on a particular date. But sometimes you cannot have the package dropped off at the local post office due to issues in the distance and for pickup on demand, you need to pay a fee. If you are not willing to travel far distance and pay a fee for having your package picked up, then you can drop your package at the USPS Collection Box.
If you have no idea how the USPS collection boxes work, the types of collection boxes, and more such information, then keep reading on to find out…
USPS Collection Box
Did you ever come across a huge blue box placed on the sidewalk which has a USPS label pasted on either the sides or on the top? Well, that’s a USPS collection box where you deposit letters. This box is basically a USPS mail collector where you can have your packages deposited whenever needed for shipping. These boxes are approximately 3 feet in height, have a sturdy built, and have a rounded top. There are a total of 14,000 collection boxes across the United States and they come in various sizes and types.
Learn about USPS box sizes from here.
Types of USPS Collection Boxes
There are many categories of USPS box drop off services which are as follows:
Snorkel Collection Box:
This collection box is placed on the side of the road and has a chute for depositing the mail into it. The Snorkel collection box is for the motorists to have their packages dropped off
Priority Mail Express Collection Box:
This is a white collection box that is used by people to drop off priority express mail packages. The priority mail express collection box must only be used for prepaid Priority mail and none other.
A mail chute is a tall glass framed tube that is placed on every floor of a tall building. This mail chute has a mail slot where the letters are dropped which are collected in a box
Package Drop Units:
A package drop unit is similar to a standard collection box with the only difference being that these units are used by mass mailers/business person to help them ship the prepaid packages. These units are only used for those packages that are prepaid and follow all the necessary restrictions. The packages should be prepaid using any of these services: Click-N-Ship, Postage Meters, USPS Return Services, Parcel Return Services, etc.
USPS Blue Box:
This unit is also known as the standard mail collection box. It is blue and has the USPS labels pasted on it. It is used by the public to have their mails deposited. You can deposit both domestic and international mails in this collection box.
Local Collection Box:
This is a local box that is used for delivering local mail. You cannot use this collection box for depositing international mail.
A cluster mailbox is a freestanding mailbox that has separate compartments and each of the compartments has a separate lock. These cluster boxes are commercial mailboxes and are used as a package delivery system for a street, a community, or an apartment. Using a cluster mailbox saves enough money as the letter carriers do not have to visit every household to deliver the mail
A rack is a collection of small mailboxes in a large box that is placed in an office building. These racks are used for commercial mails
What Is the USPS Collection Box Mail Collection/Pick-up Time?
The mail collection time of the package depends on every USPS collection box. Certain factors such as the total amount of USPS collection boxes in a particular area, the location, and the number of mails deposited every day play a significant role in determining the pickup times of the packages. To find out the pickup times of the packages, you can check out the timing on the label of the USPS collection box. Few collection boxes also have a QR code which should be scanned to find out extra information about the pickup times, the delivery times, and the holidays.
Learn about USPS hold mail request from here.
What Can You Deposit in a USPS Collection Box?
Every type of collection box has certain rules and regulations to have your package delivered on time. The customers cannot dump their packages in any collection box. As the letter carrier will sort the mails during collection and if your package fails to satisfy the criteria then it may be returned to you. In some instances, the improper mail is transferred to the correct collection box at its earnest. Here is a list of items that can and cannot be placed in the collection box.
- Domestic mail that weighs 10 oz and has a thickness of less than 1/2-inch inch
- International Mail that has a customs form along with satisfying the size and weight criteria
- Official Mail is allowed, but it should have a customs form
- APO/FPO/DPO mail bearing postage stamps and satisfying the size and weight restrictions and does not require a customs form
Not Allowed Mails
- Domestic and international mails that cross the standard weight limit, i.e., 10 oz and the standard size should not exceed 1/2 inch in thickness
- International mail without a customs form that wasn’t completed or submitted online
- Any international mail that has a postage stamp but does not have a customs form
- Priority mail express international without a Form 2976-B
- The APO/FPO/DPO mail which does not satisfy the weight and size criteria and only has postage stamps
USPS Collection Box Near Me
You can use the online tools mentioned below to find out the location of the USPS collection boxes to drop off your package:
- post office drop box near me : With this tool, you can find the locations of the nearest mail collection box
- us post office near me : Using this tool, you will get results for dropping off your package at the nearest post office or any mailbox.
While using these tools, you need to enter your accurate location, i.e., the state, city, and zip code. Then enter which service you would like to prefer. Finally, enter the distance according to your preference and click on Search.
What to Do if You Cannot Access the Collection Boxes?
If you cannot gain access to any collection box despite trying your best, then don’t worry as there are many other alternatives that you can go for. You can try doing the following:
- Visit the local post office and have your package dropped at the counter
- You can drop your package in the PO Box and wait for the letter carrier to have it picked up along with the regular mail delivery
- Schedule an online package pick up using the online usps portal for a particular fee
Make sure that you have prepared your package in advance to avoid any last moment hassles. Additionally, you need to keep all your packages organized for any other drop-off service if you believe that you do not have enough time to drop them off at the collection box.
Who Picks Up the Mail From the Usps Collection Box?
All the mails from the collection boxes are picked up by the letter carriers. A collection service refers to collecting mails. If the customers are handing off their outgoing or prepaid packages to the letter carriers during regular mail delivery, then this service is also referred to as a collection service. Remember that outgoing mail can only be handed over to the letter carrier if:
- The package has the correct postage
- Weight should not cross over 10 oz and the thickness of the package must not be more than 1/2 inch
If any of the above conditions are not satisfied, then the letter carrier cannot pick up your package for delivery. Also, remember that the letter carrier can only pick a certain number of packages depending on the vehicle’s limitations. If the customers have too many items for pickup, then they can either schedule a pickup service, they can drop it off at the local post office or they can deposit the package in the collection box.
What Is Happening to the Mailboxes in Certain Areas of the United States?
There has been a significant decline in the mailboxes according to the statements given by the postal services workers. Many people claimed that these boxes were not replaced but were taken down. Offices were not informed about the removal of these collection boxes and a statement was demanded from the USPS officials. According to the postal service, taking down the collection boxes was a part of the routine maintenance and was taken down to be replaced with a rather secure collection box.
USPS officials research every collection box and make plans to remove the ones which are seldom used by the public. Before removing any collection box, a notice is forwarded to the people who are free to make any comments on this decision.
Having to deposit your package in a nearby collection box is a better solution than having to spend a lot of money on an on-demand pickup service. Dropping your package at the postal office is a better alternative as well, on the condition that the post office is close to your place. There are many tools that you can use to find out the collection boxes which are nearest to your location. Make sure to check the restrictions before you deposit the package in the collection box as any discrepancy will not have your package shipped at the right time.
Check out this article to learn about USPS processing and distribution centers locations.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)
There isn’t a standard time for having the mails picked up from the collection box. The pick-up time of every collection box differs. You can check the information on the label or scan the barcode for more information on pick-up times.
Dropping off at the post office, scheduling an on-demand pick up, or handing over the package to the letter carrier at regular delivery times are a few alternatives to collection boxes.
Yes, you can drop off both international and domestic mails at the USPS post office.