Please Return Reusable Pallets, Trays and Sacks to US Postal Service

PS I love you?  Most parents have curfews for their kids, but many organizations don’t for their reusable transport packaging.

Case in point, the US Postal Service is holding a two-week amnesty to encourage the “rapid” return of wayward plastic pallets and other mail transport equipment, after shortages have cost it tens of millions.

The amnesty period is offered to encourage the rapid return of postal-owned equipment, especially pallets and mail tubs. This announcement comes on the heels of recent equipment recoveries made by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (go to for additional details).

“The Postal Service spent nearly $50 million this past fiscal year to replace equipment that was never returned,” said David Williams, vice president, Network Operations. “This is a serious issue. We are in a financial crisis and simply cannot afford this type of unnecessary expense. The equipment is federal property and we want it back.”

The amnesty period to return mail transport equipment, or MTE, will run from Nov. 12 to Nov. 26. Anyone possessing Postal Service MTE is strongly encouraged to return it during this time period and no questions will be asked.

During the amnesty period, small amounts of equipment can be dropped off at local Post Offices or nearby mail processing and distribution centers. Arrangements can be made for the Postal Service to pick up large amounts of equipment and/or pallets by sending an email to, and including “Equipment Pickup Request” in the subject line and company name, address where the equipment is located, type of mail transport equipment and quantity, and contact information in the message.

There also is a mail transport equipment recovery hotline — 866.330.3404 — that can be used to report the misuse of equipment, such as hoarding or recycling.

As information, the following message is printed clearly on all U.S. Postal Service equipment:

WARNING: Maximum penalty for theft or misuse of postal property, $1,000 fine and 3 year’s imprisonment (Title 18 USC 1707). Chapter 58 of the Postal Operations Manual (POM) and Title 18 Section 1707 of the Federal Criminal Code contain the policy and laws regulating use of all mail transport equipment.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

(Once again we must ask, is a lack of attention to pallet and container tracking such as offered by 2ic Software and management of reusables constraining a broader reusable packaging blastoff? And more fundamentally, is an inability to manage reusables a litmus test for more systemic management issues?)


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