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USPS Scraps Plan to Tighten ‘Soft Packaging’ Rules

USPS Scraps Plan to Tighten 'Soft Packaging' Rules

The US Postal Service had planned to tighten rules around parcels in “soft packaging” but has scrapped the plans.

The USPS said parcels that are “improperly” packaged in soft materials such as plastic, cloth and padded envelopes lead to an excess of selvage – the overhang of material beyond the contents – and can damage parcels or render them unmachinable.

It also cited added costs of manual processing to both USPS and the customer.

The USPS had published the proposed rule in the Federal Register (87 FR 16700-16702) on March 24, 2022. The rule would have implemented a two-inch maximum of selvage on the length and the width of a parcel prepared in soft packaging. In addition, the USPS was proposing a definition of how to measure parcels prepared in soft packaging to generally determine the length, width, and height of the mailpiece.

Members of the mailing community voiced concerns about the plan in comments.

“In consideration of concerns expressed by members of the mailing community during the proposed rule comment period, the Postal Service has elected to withdraw the proposed rule,” it announced.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

6 thoughts on “USPS Scraps Plan to Tighten ‘Soft Packaging’ Rules”

  1. yet they still charge a $15 surcharge on their own boxes, we voiced our opinions, didn’t stop them. They scrapped it because it would have wiped out another 2/3’s of their mail but Dejoy would have got what he wanted, end of the USPS

  2. I do not understand this. But, all I do is round up to the next highest measurement when calculating the size of my package. Note while the outside mailer may be a bubble mailer the insides are stiff and unbendable.

  3. I betcha DeJoy got an earful from the big companies that ship in the plastic bags – like LLBean sending clothing, for example…. !!!! Little people don’t get heard but the big companies will!

  4. I’ve shipped in polymailers FOR YEARS.

    I’ve tucked & taped excess polymailer FOR YEARS.

    This simply made sense to me. Logic says that if there’s extra polymailer hanging over whatever is packed inside, it WILL get caught in the USPS machinery. It’s not rocket science.

  5. Would this have included their own soft padded Priority Mail envelopes???????
    You know they are going to figure out hey are losing money giving packaging away for free & will stop that practice. Just as soon as DeJoy figures that one out.

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