Properly Marking Re-Used Boxes That Contained
To protect the health and safety of
Postal ServiceTM employees and the general public, the Postal Service
has procedures for the safe acceptance, handling, and delivery of hazardous
materials. Postal Service employees must prevent packages containing hazardous
materials from entering the mailstream unless the package meets all Postal
Service requirements for mailing. Employees are instructed to remove nonmailable
items from the mail and isolate them for retrieval by the customer. Employees
at processing facilities assume that the markings and labels on the outside
of a package indicate the actual contents of the package.
We all need to be aware of the items
we are accepting from customers. We can become aware by asking the HAZMAT
question and by examining the package closely to look for nonmailable
markings and labels.
For mailing packages, customers often
use boxes that originally contained common hazardous or nonmailable materials
(e.g., bleach, cosmetics, household cleaners, and liquor). It is acceptable
for customers to re-use such boxes for mailing provided that all original
markings and labels on the box have either been removed or are completely
obliterated (see images below). If any of the box's former markings or
labels of nonmailable contents are visible, the Postal Service cannot
accept the box for mailing.
Postal Service employees may not remove,
cross out, or obliterate markings or labels on a mailpiece, even if directed
to do so by a mailer. Preparing a box for mailing may only be performed
by the mailer or the mailer's authorized representative. By correctly
packaging mail at initial acceptance, customers avoid the inconvenience
of having to retrieve a nonmailable parcel.
Remember to closely inspect each mailpiece
and ask customers about markings or labels that indicate potential hazardous
— Mail Aviation Security,
Network Operations Management, 12-8-05