Non-profit company produces millions of tubs for USPS


MDI, based in Minneapolis, has produced more than 90 million tubs for USPS. Image: Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal

Ever wonder where plastic flat tubs come from?

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal recently went behind the scenes at a company that has produced millions of tubs for USPS.

Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI), a Minneapolis-based nonprofit company, has supplied the Postal Service with more than 90 million tubs and corrugated plastic packages since 1993. The company also produces custom packaging boxes for several Fortune 1000 firms.

MDI recently began using polypropylene — a tougher, more durable material — to manufacture the tubs and other plastic containers.

“We believe this will be transformative for this company. It is our next best thing,” Barbara Majerus, an MDI vice president, told the newspaper.

The company — which has five locations in Minnesota and employees more than 500 people, including 260 with disabilities — expects to generate $36 million in revenue this year.

Source: USPS News Link

One thought on “Non-profit company produces millions of tubs for USPS

  1. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    Atlanta Metro Area Local 32
    Automated tray handling systems such as the Lockheed Martin TMS (Tray Management System) that I service in Atlanta are very efficient cost saving systems when utilized properly by management.

    There is one downside to them that is not controllable by local management and that is the incompatibility of cardboard letter trays. Thousands of cardboard trays have been destroyed by the various automated tray handling systems throughout the country.

    Years ago I considered writing to higher USPS management to explain that we are not saving money buying cardboard trays over the more expensive plastic trays because the cardboard seems to have around a two year life span as opposed to some 10 years for plastic based on my empirical observations. The initial purchase cost difference could not possibly be enough to save any money of the differences in the lifespan of the two different types of trays.

    But then I learned that the cardboard trays were manufactured largely by disabled veterans and I did not want to deprive them of the steady work replacing the short lifespan cardboard trays. And I did not want to deny the large bonuses that those USPS procurement managers were likely putting themselves in for for saving money by buying cheaper cardboard trays (despite the fact it was losing money over time). So I did nothing.

    What some may not know is that many of not most plastics are made from oil so when the price of oil and gasoline goes up, the price of plastics generally goes up as well. Likewise when the barrel price of oil does down, the price of plastics tends to go down as well.

    Now that we have had fairly stable lower fuel costs for many months, plastics are probably less expensive then they were when oil and gas prices were near record highs just a few years ago. The difference in the price of cardboard which does not fluctuate as much as the price of plastics, is probably much less now.

    With all of that said, I wonder what will happen to all of those disabled veterans who were making the short lifespan cardboard trays for us?

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