Posted on

What Are Collection Mailboxes?

Search all the help articles:

← All Topics

The term “collection mailbox” can refer to any type of mailbox that stands in a public area and collects mail. For our purposes, the term refers to those that are checked by the USPS daily, and not those that collect mail and items for private businesses, such as libraries.

These mailboxes are most commonly the blue, freestanding type found outside of post offices and some businesses, but other types such as chutes exist as well in the sides of buildings. They typically have the USPS symbol and lettering on the side. Dropping outgoing mail into these mailboxes starts the chain of mail delivery, which continues when a USPS employee opens the locked mailbox and retrieves the mail.

What Are Collection Mailboxes Used For?

Collection mailboxes are a great choice when you need to deposit mail that already has postage on it, is less than a half inch thick, and weighs less than 10 ounces in most cases. You can drop your mail into any public collection mailbox for delivery if you meet all the requirements.

This can be a convenient option when going to the post office to deliver mail will be inconvenient, and also good when you want to place outgoing mail in a secure, durable container. If the post office is closed, you can often simply deposit your mail in a collection mailbox, which is often accessible by car. This makes then a good choice for those with mobility issues.

Are Collection Mailboxes Becoming Less Common?

The blue USPS collection mailboxes were more common in the past, standing off sidewalks, in communities, and in front of many businesses. In recent years, they have become less common in some areas as the USPS has removed some of the units.

The reason for this is that many mailboxes weren’t being used often, and cost a lot of money to keep in shape. The postal service audits these mailboxes at times and removes or adds collection mailboxes as needed to neighborhoods. Those that receive less than 25 pieces per day tend to be removed or relocated.