USPS launches secure mail destruction service

USPS launches secure mail destruction service

The US Postal Service has launched a new secure destruction service for undeliverable-as-addressed mail. The USPS BlueEarth Secure Destruction service allows all mailers using First Class Mail to have undeliverable items automatically intercepted and destroyed securely at a postal facility, without additional charge, instead of being returned to the sender.

The service is made possible thanks to the Postal Service’s tracking technology, the Intelligent Mail Barcode system. Items like undelivered bank statements will be shredded so they are unreadable prior to disposal and recycling.

USPS said the solution would help reduce the costs to mailers and the Postal Service itself from dealing with more than 1.4bn pieces of undeliverable-as-addressed mail each year.

The Postal Service said that as well as economic benefits, the service was also an environmentally-conscious solution, in avoiding the shipment of items back to the sender, and in recycling the mail pieces.

Intercepting and destroying 25,000 pieces of undeliverable mail will save around a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, USPS believes.


“Using the Intelligent Mail Barcode, mail that for privacy reasons must be destroyed can be securely shredded and recycled at a mail processing plant, rather than being shipped back to the sender. This provides both environmental and economic benefits,” explained USPS spokesperson Sarah Ninivaggi.

The new service follows on from a pilot that was completed in 2013 involving four large mailers.

The USPS BlueEarth Secure Destruction service is available nationwide, with items sent to secure destruction capabilities within one of 61 postal plants across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, no matter where it was originally mailed.

USPS said data on the secure destruction of items will then be sent to the mailer to provide a record of final disposal of the mail piece.

The Postal Service hopes that within 10 years it will capture 30% of the total First Class pre-sort return-to-sender mail through the new service.

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