Link to contents

Domestic Mail


Address Visibility on Bundles of Flat-Size and Irregular Parcel Mail

Effective October 27, 2005, the Postal ServiceTM is adopting new mailing standards to enhance our ability to process bundles of flat-size and irregular parcel mailpieces on our new Automated Package Processing System (APPS) equipment. APPS has optical character reader (OCR) technology that enables it to read delivery information on bundles of mail and process that mail efficiently. We are adding the new standards to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®).

Summary of the New Standards

Mailers preparing presorted bundles must have the delivery address information and any presort label or optional endorsement line on the top piece of each bundle visible and readable by the naked eye. The new standards apply only to bundles of Periodicals, Standard Mail®, and Package Services mailpieces intended for processing on APPS equipment. The new standards do not apply to:

• Letter-size mailpieces.

• First-Class Mail® flat-size pieces or parcels.

• Mail placed in or on 5-digit or 5-digit scheme sacks or pallets.

• Mail placed in carrier route or 5-digit carrier routes sacks.

• Carrier route mail entered at a destination delivery unit (DDU).

• Standard Mail flat-size pieces prepared in letter trays under DMM 345.3.4.

• Customized MarketMail® (CMM).


To help mailers meet the new standards, we recommend that strapping used for bundling be clear and smooth and have less than 70 percent haze in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard D1003. Clear, smooth strapping that is tightly secured around the bundle does not obstruct visibility. Strapping should not contain any seams or texture marks that obscure address characters. We recommend that any shrinkwrap used to secure bundles show less than 70 percent haze after shrinkage. Seams, blisters, wrinkles, or other protrusions on shrinkwrap material should not obscure addresses on the top pieces of bundles. We also recommend that any bundle with multiple layers of bundling materials show less than 70 percent haze through all combined layers.

Effective Date

We are implementing the new standards on October 27, 2005. However, we realize that the mailing industry may have to change some procedures to ensure address visibility, and we will allow a 6-month grace period for compliance. We will not assess penalties on bundles not meeting the standards until April 30, 2006.

During the grace period, acceptance employees will randomly examine bundles for address visibility. We will provide feedback to mailers at acceptance and via eMIR from destination sites. We also will work closely with mailers to improve address readability on their bundles.


Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM)

* * * * *

300 Discount Mail Flats

* * * * *

340 Standard Mail

* * * * *

345 Mail Preparation

* * * * *

2.0 Bundles

* * * * *

[Renumber current 2.2 through 2.13 as new 2.3 through 2.14. Add new 2.2, "Address Visibility," and revise new 2.11, as explained below. Make these same changes to 445.2.0 (for Standard Mail parcels), 365.2.0 and 465.2.0 (for Bound Printed Matter flats and parcels), 375.2.0 and 475.2.0 (for Media Mail flats and parcels), 385.2.0 and 485.2.0 (for Library Mail flats and parcels), 705.8.5 (for bundles on pallets), and 707.19 (for Periodicals). Exception: Do not repeat items a through e for Media Mail or Library Mail; do not repeat items a and e for Bound Printed Matter and Periodicals.]

2.2 Address Visibility

Mailers preparing presort bundles must ensure that the delivery address information on the top mailpiece in each bundle is visible and readable by the naked eye. Mailers using strapping that might cover the address can avoid obstructing visibility by using clear, smooth strapping tightly secured around the bundle. Mailers using barcoded pressure-sensitive bundle labels, optional endorsement lines, carrier route information lines, or carrier route facing slips also must ensure that the information in these presort designations is visible and readable by the naked eye. This standard does not apply to the following:

a. Customized MarketMail.

b. Bundles placed in or on 5-digit or 5-digit scheme (L001) sacks or pallets.

c. Bundles placed in carrier route and 5-digit carrier routes sacks.

d. Bundles of mailpieces at carrier route rates entered at a destination delivery unit (DDU).

e. Bundles of Standard Mail flat-size pieces prepared in letter trays under 345.3.4.

* * * * *

2.11 Labeling Bundles

[Replace the third sentence in 2.11 with the following two sentences to clarify that the bundle label must not obscure the delivery address.]

***Barcoded pressure-sensitive bundle labels must not obscure the delivery address block. Banding or shrinkwrap must not obscure any bundle label.***

* * * * *

We will incorporate these revisions into the next printed version of the DMM and into the monthly update of the online DMM available on Postal Explorer® at

— Mailing Standards,
Pricing and Classification, 10-27-05