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Topic: Using boxes with writing on them

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Subject: Using boxes with writing on them
Date Posted: 2/19/2014 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2008
Posts: 51
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Hey guys, this isn't exactly PBS-related but if you don't mind I'd like to use you fine folks as a guide for some of the USPS's more obscure rules.

What is the policy on shipping with boxes that have commercial writing on them? I've re-used (and received) Amazon boxes no problem, but what if the box you use was a case for some kind of goods (e.g, paper towels, canned veggies, etc) and has a brand label printed on it? I had heard that you need to wrap the box in something if that's the case. Is this true?


Date Posted: 2/20/2014 1:40 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Generally, boxes may be reused.  I can think of a couple exceptions, such as:
1. re-using a USPS box/package for a different rate (ie cannot use Priority packaging for Media Mail)
2. If the original contents are banned from USPS shipping, such as alcohol/booze, tobacco, etc

No, you do not need to wrap a re-used box.  But if re-using packaging that contains a USPS barcode, you should deface it with a black permanent marker so as not to confuse the postal scanners.  Barcodes from other sources are OK and according to my source should not register on USPS scanners.

Date Posted: 2/20/2014 7:22 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Wrapping boxes is generally a bad idea. the wrapping has a tendency to rip off if it's not put on just right. 

writing is OK on a box, if it's something permitted in the mailstream. If it's on the box, they have to assume it's IN the box, so no alcohol, or bleach, no chemicals, etc,etc

Date Posted: 2/24/2014 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2008
Posts: 51
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Thanks for your answers guys!