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Free USPS Supplies

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mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
6,350
4,528
I have been thinking about this for a while and I am reminded literally every single day about it, so I finally wrote this up.

How do YOU personally feel about sellers (or traders) who exchange items online, using the free USPS material for their packaging, but they are not paying for the service? Cut up flat rate boxes are very popular for cardboard stiffeners. Priority flat rate envelopes inside plain manilla or padded mailers. Padded priority mailers wrapping items inside regular mailers?

The USPS provides these packing materials for free for ease in mailing, but they are clearly designed (and marked) to use only for the services they were printed for. They don't monitor usage, as you can load up whenever you go to a PO and take whatever they have stocked and probably ask for more from the back if you really wanted to do so.

I recycle almost everything I get. The photo below is my "salvaged" items from the last couple of mail days and clearly you can see examples of what I am talking about. Cardboard, supplies, mailers, etc. Since I don't sell much at all, I have boxes upon boxes of this stuff and when I do sell or trade or even give things away, I always use the stock I have saved from my purchases. Someday I hope to make more use of the piles of stuff I have saved. It bothers me some just in principle, but someone is paying for those supplies that are being misappropriated. That someone is most likely all of us! Perhaps that is the justification some need, others may not care one bit. Still many follow the rules and only take what they need when they are using the Priority services for which those supplies were meant for.

IMG_0896.jpg

Not asking anyone to admit that they steal USPS supplies and use them for their personal gain or show you that I am holier than thou and do nothing wrong, but I have to think there are others like me who probably don't give it a whole lot of thought, but when they do, it bothers them a little bit. I suppose if it were problematic enough, maybe the USPS would restrict access to the material or perhaps even some day, they just won't provide it any longer or require you to package it up in their presence. Most of us try to save where we can, but where do you draw the line?
 

finestkind

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2008
4,092
999
Massachusetts
I don't have a problem with people that use reuse the materials. You're right. The post office should charge for the boxes in the first place. Then they wouldn't be losing so much money.
 

Dilferules

Well-known member
Aug 10, 2012
1,975
1,813
Auburn, WA
The people that just go in and grab the boxes to use as "free" packing materials are cheap*** thieves that should be ashamed of themselves. There's very little difference between doing that and straight up shoplifting.
 

nevermore

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
3,380
548
New York

Even if they are recycling or reusing Priority mailers or boxes sent to them, that have already been paid for, once the box is cut up, there is no way of knowing if it was new or reused.

I always reuse shipping supplies sent to me. However, I won't reuse Priority labeled items because I usually ship First Class.
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
6,350
4,528

Even if they are recycling or reusing Priority mailers or boxes sent to them, that have already been paid for, once the box is cut up, there is no way of knowing if it was new or reused.

I always reuse shipping supplies sent to me. However, I won't reuse Priority labeled items because I usually ship First Class.
You have a good point. I guess I should be talking about things that are used, but were never mailed and it's obvious. Priority mailers that are unused, placed into regular mailers, that type of thing. I see that a lot. Those smaller card protectors cut from a priority box could very well have been recycled from a box that was used properly. I tend to think they are not in a lot of cases, but I could be wrong.
 

popguynyc

Member
Feb 11, 2012
41
18
Lots of resources to recycle cardboard, envelopes, and bubble wrap, without resorting to USPS stock. (I also have a box filled with shipping stuff.)
It’s the added “handling” fees we pay that bother me - knowing that packing materials are either free or recycled.
 

nevermore

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
3,380
548
New York
You have a good point. I guess I should be talking about things that are used, but were never mailed and it's obvious. Priority mailers that are unused, placed into regular mailers, that type of thing. I see that a lot. Those smaller card protectors cut from a priority box could very well have been recycled from a box that was used properly. I tend to think they are not in a lot of cases, but I could be wrong.

I agree, a majority of the stuff I receive looks new as well.

My main point is I feel bad I can't recycle/reuse it even though I am not the primary offender.
 

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