Discussion Forums - USPS Postal Regulations USPS Postal Regulations

Topic: Packing Materials

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Packing Materials
Date Posted: 2/17/2011 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
Back To Top

So if I chose to pack my books going Media Mail with an unusual packing material, say ball bearings would I be ok as long as they didn't have advertising on them.

Date Posted: 2/17/2011 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,576
Back To Top

OK, did you get a book wrapped in bubble wrap that was printed with Bible verses?????

Date Posted: 2/18/2011 3:50 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
Back To Top

I suspect that packing material too unusual, or with little packing value (say ball bearings) an inspector could disbelieve they are being used for packing and charge additional postage.

Date Posted: 2/18/2011 6:38 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
Back To Top

Short answer is no.

If the packing material you choose is merchandise all on its own, it can not be shipped Media Mail. I had one guy claim that the brand new jeans in the box were just packing materials for the used paperbacks in the box. No dice, if there is basically anything other than books, DVDs or CDs, an invoice and REAL packing material, you risk having you package inspected and the person receiving the box getting a postage due bill.

Date Posted: 2/18/2011 9:55 AM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
Back To Top

Well the question is partly in fun, but do they post a list of "valid" packing materials.  When I pack I regularly use anything from jeans (although no-one will ever make the mistake of calling them new or for that matter even whole), old over-used envelopes, to the normal packing peanuts and tissue paper.  Or is the list simply up to the discretion of the postal inspectors?

Subject: Packing materials
Date Posted: 2/18/2011 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,421
Back To Top

You might check out the HELP DOCS, under packing materials...but i think it is more common sense. The wrapper you print off, shelf paper,old sacks, old maps, several thickness of wrapping paper. I heard someone  put the book in a zip loc and stuck the lable on and the book made it in one piece. I use a manilla envelope and make sure to wrap in plastic first. I use white shelf paper sometimes and a couple times I use old wall paper. But be sure tape the heck out of the package too.



Last Edited on: 2/19/11 4:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/18/2011 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
Back To Top

If you are using something that is not -in its normal use - packing material, and it isn't altered in a manner than would render it usable only as packing material, then you would risk the package being marked up. If you a mailing usable jeans then it doesn't matter if you call them packing material or not, they are still jeans and cannot be mailed using media mail. If, instead you cut the leg out of a pair of jeans and wrapped the book in that, then it would clearly be packing material.

It is up to the discretion of the inspector to some degree, but I am sure the actual inspectors (not the crazy counter clerks that imagine themselves inspectors) have a good idea of what is legit and what is not. I bet they have had the "its packing" material excuse hundreds of times when someone tossed a book into a package full of other stuff in order to try to call it media mail.



Last Edited on: 2/21/11 5:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/18/2011 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
Back To Top

If it is merchandise all on its own, It is not a valid packing material for media mail.                       Used envelopes=trash=Ok packing material                    wadded up tissue or newspaper=trash=ok packing material                     jeans (or jean material)=merchandise= NOT acceptable packing material for media mail rate.                    T-shirts=merchandise=Not acceptable               diapers=merchandise=not acceptable             Its common sense

Date Posted: 2/21/2011 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
Back To Top

Thanks for the replies, it appears that it's up to the postal inspectors (and I trust their judgement more than an office person writing a document with legaleze).

Brandy L: I thoroughly understand your post, intent is the primary difference in what should be considered for media mail.  Given the way you expressed your post though, I found it ironic given how the original thought process arrived in my brain.  I looked at the price of tissue paper in a gift store, and then saw the price of a roll of bubble wrap right next to it, this is what sent my mind to this topic (you can ask what sent me from tissue paper and bubble wrap to ball bearings but you really don't want to know) in the first place; it was the realization that everything is merchandise (I've also apprenticed under someone designing a landfill, and can say that good money is paid for trash as well).



Last Edited on: 2/21/11 1:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1