The Postal Service’s iconic collection box symbolizes the trust Americans have in the Postal Service. Because it’s closely associated with the security and privacy of the mail, USPS has maintained tight control over who can use de-commissioned boxes for non-postal purposes.
In the past, loans to other federal agencies have been approved by the Postal Inspection Service. But now, even this exception to the rule is ending.
USPS and the Postal Inspection Service are tightening the policy. The April 22 edition of Postal Bulletin has details on the upcoming change. “It’s difficult to enforce our policy if the public sees old collection boxes in use for some other purpose,” says Chief Postal Inspector Bill Gilligan. “A clearer, more uniform policy is easier to enforce.”
The Postal Service has used its public mail collection box design since 1908. It’s part of the American landscape — a favorite, for example, of movie producers who want to include a bit of Americana on their sets.
Largely for security reasons, the Postal Service has restricted use of its blue boxes, denying dozens of requests each year for out-of-service boxes. Street collection boxes cannot be sold or loaned to the public, to businesses or to local and state governments. They must be destroyed and sold as scrap.
In rare instances, collection boxes may be loaned to other federal agencies — with prior approval from the Inspection Service. For example, a blue collection box is part of a display at the Smithsonian Museum. But the loan required a signed agreement detailing how the box is to be used, the duration of the loan and a specific audit trail.
Gilligan says he doesn’t want old collection boxes to be mistaken for the real thing. “The sight of a collection box, even if the color is changed, still signals to many Americans that it’s the receptacle for the mail,” he says. “Even when the requester has the best of intentions, once the box leaves the Postal Service, it makes it very difficult for us to control where it goes and how it’s used.”
see the latest Postal Bulletin: Handbook AS-701 Revision: Changes to Disposal of USPS Collection Boxes
source: USPS News Link