USPS Issues “Clean Sweep” of MTE in Delivery Units

In FY 2012 and 2013, the U.S. Postal Service® invested $225 million to grow Mail Transport Equipment (MTE) inventories. To protect this investment, the USPS® has developed the Clean Sweep program to monitor MTE within the network. Beginning May 2013, each delivery and retail unit will be asked to perform a “clean sweep” of their facility and return any excess or improperly used MTE to circulation.

What is Considered Improper Use of MTE?

Storing or transporting items such as retail records, files, postal supplies, cleaning supplies, decorations, and tools, or using MTE as recycling bins, are some of the more common ways these valuable containers are misused. Use the service talk and the records retention table to remind employees that MTE should only be used as intended — as custom-made, automation-compatible containers.

MTEs being misused

MTEs being misused

MTEs being misused

To keep MTE in circulation and prevent misuse, the following actions should be taken:

n Count all MTE in unit, even if in use, and record these items on weekly inventory reports.

n Leave MTE Awareness posters and Stacking Standards posters displayed.

n Employees should receive service talks to promote awareness.

n Areas should be designated for needed MTE.

n Neat and organized excess MTE can be palletized for return to the plant.

n Supplies for the lobby or maintenance should not be stored in MTE containers.

n Window clerks and carriers should rubber band hold mail for customers.

n Enter a count of all MTE used for retail and BMEU records storage in weekly inventory reports.

n Examine and determine the quantity of records stored in MTE.

n Purchase alternative containers for records currently stored in MTE tubs and trays.

On February 20, 2013, an online MTE reporting system was launched nationally for Level 20 and above delivery and retail units. These facilities are now required to submit weekly inventory reports for both empty and full MTE. The report is accessed at the CSDC homepage under “Our Other Sites”. Though other levels/offices are not required to submit weekly reports, they are encouraged to participate in the Clean Sweep program through appropriate circulation and use of MTE.

What are the Advantages of Proper MTE Usage and Circulation?

n Improves the overall financial state of the USPS.

n Improves efficiency at the plants to better serve customers.

n Ensures mailers have the necessary equipment to generate revenue.

n Provides a clean, safe office environment.

n Provides additional work room space, once excess MTE is removed.

n Provides additional storage after proper disposal of any outdated records stored in MTE.

Clean Sweep Campaign

Over the next few months, we will recognize offices who return the most MTE to circulation, in proportion to their size. Results will be based on MTE reporting from May 6 – 26, 2013. All districts must submit their return reports to Headquarters by June 6 to be eligible for recognition. Before and after photos will be shown in subsequent issues of the Postal Bulletin.

Please direct any questions to your District MTE Coordinator or for more details.

Records Retention Guide

Here are retention guidelines for the PS Forms most often stored past required retention periods. Please use this table to determine when disposal is appropriate.

PS Form


Retention Period

PS Form 17

Stamp Requisition / Stamp Return

2 years plus current fiscal year

PS Form 25

Trust Fund Account

3 years from last date of activity

PS Form 571

Discrepancy of $100 or More in Financial Responsibility

2 years, plus current fiscal year

PS Form 991

Application for Promotion or Assignment

2 years

PS Form 1017-A

Unauthorized Overtime Record

3 years

PS Form 1017-B

Time Disallowance Record

3 years

PS Form 1091-A

Post Office Box Fee Register (Note: If automated, delete customer record upon termination of service).

2 years

PS Form 1091-B

Register for Caller Service Fees (Note: If automated, delete customer record upon termination of service).

2 years

PS Form 1412

Daily Financial Report

2 years plus current fiscal year

PS Form 3996

Carrier-auxilliary control

2 years

PS Form 3971

Request for or Notification of Absence

3 years

PS Form 3972

Absence Analysis

3 years

Please access the eRIMS program to look up individual PS Form retention periods at:

Service Talk
Delivery & Retail Units Nationwide
May 2013

Mail Transport Equipment (MTE) in Delivery Units

In the 2011 mailing season, the U.S. Postal Service® experienced severe shortages of trays, sleeves, flat tubs, and pallets. So severe was the shortage, business mailers deposited large letter mailings without trays or sleeves, and some postal plants could not run their flat sorter equipment because they did not have the necessary quantity of tubs.

To prevent shortages, several projects were launched to review MTE in plants, delivery units, and at mailer locations. These projects identified excess MTE that was not circulating or being misused. In the last two years, the Postal Service invested $225 million to rebuild the inventory of tubs, trays, sacks, sleeves and plastic pallets. Even with that investment, we need to be vigilant to keep all MTE circulating for use.

The study of delivery units found that many offices have large amounts of trays and tubs stacked in corners or under cases, or holding retail close-out records, BMEU records, cleaning supplies, retail lobby supplies, files, decorations, carrier personal items, etc. MTE is treated as general purpose storage rather than custom-made, automation-compatible containers. While records can be stored in cardboard boxes, flat sorters can’t use boxes to sort mail.

It may seem like the amount of trays, tubs, and rolling stock in our office could not be significant to the Postal Service, but if you think of each flat tub as a $5 bill, you will see that the expense quickly adds up. If just 100 flat tubs are misused at 5,000 delivery and retail units, the Postal Service has to spend over $2 million to replace the tubs that are not circulating.

You are going to see changes in the way we now use trays and tubs. We will:

n Gather up all excess trays, tubs, and rolling stock for daily return to the plant.

n Designate a neat, organized area for MTE we need to keep in the unit.

n Remove records stored in MTE trays and tubs and transfer them to cardboard boxes.

n Send outdated records for appropriate disposal.

n Remove all retail lobby supplies from MTE trays and tubs.

n Empty all other storage from MTE trays and tubs such as cleaning supplies, decorations, etc.

I will also ask you to do some things differently, such as:

n Have pallets where each of you place trays and tubs that go back to the plant each day. This helps with MTE transportation and enables immediate reuse at the plant, transfer to a mailer, or timely cross-dock to the MTE Service Center.

n Remove any personal items from MTE tubs and trays, and place them in your locker.

n Place a rubber band around hold mail instead of handing out an MTE tray or tub.

n Request that business customers who receive mail in MTE trays or tubs return equipment from the prior day, as you deliver mail for today.

n Ensure that no equipment is left outside where it is exposed to theft, sun, or rain.

n Ensure that no MTE tray, sleeve, tub, or pallet of any kind is destroyed or recycled at our office. Everything must be returned to the plant, regardless of its condition.

How Does this Help the Postal Service?

n Reduces the expense of purchasing to replace equipment we already have.

n Improves efficiency at the plant when they can use all of the automated equipment.

n Ensures equipment is available for commercial mailers to increase revenue.

How Does Our Office Benefit?

n Cleaner and safer workroom floor, once equipment is cleared.

n Additional workroom floor space for other purposes.

n Additional storage space available.

MTE costs the Postal Service millions of dollars every year, and it is our responsibility to take good care of it. To report misuse of any type of MTE or to request a customer MTE pickup, contact HQMTE@USPS.GOV or call