UPS is a great way to ship and receive packages year-round. They’re professional, careful and have boxes of every size to help ship your item. But what if you have another box lying around the house, such as a USPS box? Will UPS allow you to use a recycled USPS box with their services?
If you use a USPS box to send something via UPS, remove the USPS stickers and bar codes from the box or use a black marker to blot out / redact all barcodes and symbols. As the USPS is a direct competitor and government-affiliated, their unaltered boxes are likely to be rejected by UPS on professional and legal grounds.
Keep reading to learn more about USPS boxes with UPS, how to successfully re-use boxes at UPS, and how to ensure that UPS will accept and ship your package.
Will UPS Accept USPS Boxes?
While UPS can ship almost any size object for you, they may bristle at or refuse to ship a box that is clearly labeled as a USPS box. This is because these boxes are technically the property of USPS. We’ll explain how in a moment, but for now, be aware that it is wise to attempt to blatantly re-use a USPS box if all USPS-affiliated marking, stickers, and wording have been peeled off or blotted out.
UPS may have differing views on shipping something in a box that is a USPS package. Once the associated symbols, barcodes, wording, and logos have been removed or completely covered with opaque, black ink, the UPS store may agree to ship the item in that box. Extra barcodes can confuse scanning machines, and extra text can confuse delivery men. Essentially, as long as you can not tell it was once a USPS box, neither UPS nor the USPS should mind.
UPS and USPS are Direct Competitors
The sometimes iffy relationship between the USPS and UPS can be explained by their being in direct competition. This is often true of government services vs. private enterprises. The USPS would much rather that consumers use them for shipping and mailing, so they tend to keep their prices low.
On the other hand, UPS has developed a reputation for being professional, careful, expert shippers, and especially useful if you’re shipping large or oddly-shaped items. They are often incredibly fast, though they are pricier, and are frequently used by small businesses.
Having said that, the USPS and UPS sometimes work together to help packages and letters get where they need to go. USPS will occasionally deliver UPS packages to customers via a program called “UPS SurePost.” For example, a package may be dropped off for shipping at a UPS store, but USPS will deliver it. This program is in place to ensure the fastest possible delivery time and is one of those unique situations in which these organizations will collaborate.
However, this doesn’t mean that their boxes are interchangeable or that either company appreciates the other platform’s logos and insignia. They are still competitors, and taking this into account when using UPS services is sensible and respectful of both enterprises.
The USPS Can Be Particular About Their Boxes
The USPS, as a government-affiliated service, can be touchy and sensitive about using and re-using their property. As an organization funded by the US Government, there are certain legal considerations to consider if you are considering trying to re-use one of their boxes for anything besides sending something via USPS.
It should be stated that, according to the USPS, it is illegal to turn a USPS box ins-de-out to conceal insignia and then attempt to re-use the box. This is described as a misuse of federal property and can potentially land the sender in trouble. That’s right; the government technically owns the USPS package forever.
Misusing or tampering with government property tends to be frowned upon, at the least, and could even land a consumer in trouble. Thus, it is safest to respect all of the USPS’ rules for using and re-using their labeled boxes and thoroughly disguise the box you are re-using.
Ensuring UPS Will Ship Your Box
The easiest way to ensure that UPS will ship your box is to use a new, rigid, sturdy box free of excess markings and free of damage. An older box may also be used, so long as it is strong enough to hold up to the shipping process, is relatively free of stickers or markings, and leaves enough room for the item and any cushioning material.
Be sure to use bubble wrap, tissue paper, plastic air pillows, or other materials to cushion fragile items and to keep the contents from shifting. The UPS Store should also have plenty of cushioning materials on hand should you need extra padding or protection for your items. If the items are fragile, let the UPS customer service provider know.
Make sure your box is properly taped up and secure, and place your shipping label neatly on the top or on the box’s most visible side. So long as these criteria are met, UPS shouldn’t have any issues shipping your package.
If you are seeking to reuse a USPS box to ship something via UPS, make sure all USPS logos, signage, and stickers are removed or blotted out before reusing. The USPS technically owns all of its affiliated packaging. All indications of USPS ownership must be removed or covered with opaque ink to legally and safely ship via a competitor in a used USPS box.
While the USPS will sometime ship items for UPS, it is still important to keep their packaging separate. The easiest way to ensure that UPS will accept your box is to use a new, sturdy, and rigid box with proper cushioning material, sufficient tape, and a legible label.
Hi there, I’m JJ, and welcome To EverydayQuery! Founded in 2022, we created this project to be the most complete resource on the web for your everyday questions regarding retail, shopping experiences, and overall consumer questions. We’re a team of passionate consumers whose mission is to provide the best answers to your everyday questions.