Store Empty Sacks Flat for Return to Mail Transport Equipment Service Centers

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It’s time to make a change in sack storage. For decades, Post Offices™ and processing plants have “bummed” canvas and nylon sacks. The term “bum” is a carryover from the days when mail moved by rail. Sacks rode the rails without “working,” which they would do if they were carrying mail.

Nineteen sacks were stuffed into one for return to the mailbag depositories for storage until they were needed again. Now, the Postal Service™ purchases plastic sacks rather than canvas or nylon sacks. Crumbling and stuffing these plastic sacks inside of each other reduces their life, wastes work hours, and can hide mailpieces from employees.

To properly store empty sacks for return to Mail Transport Equipment Service Centers (MTESCs), employees must:

  1. Empty the mail sack;
  2. Pull the label;
  3. Elbow the sack to ensure all mail is out;
  4. Lay the sack flat on a pallet, in a cardboard Gaylord box, or in a hamper; and
  5. Return the sacks to the closest MTESC.

For more information about sacks and other mail transport equipment, please visit

— Mail Transport Equipment,
Network Operations, 3-2-17

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