The U.S. Postal Service® is asking employees who work with mail sacks to embrace a new slogan: Hang Them Right — Close Them Tight. The concept is simple; employees who set up mail processing operations must do the following when using mail transport equipment (MTE):
- Check sacks before hanging on sack racks or processing equipment.
- Ensure sacks are in good condition (e.g., no holes).
- Properly placard or label sacks.
- Ensure all sacks have usable landing strips for placement of Delivery and Routing (D&R) tags and a label holder, if necessary.
- Ensure all sacks, other than colored plastic sacks, have proper closure straps:
- Velcro for clear plastic sacks.
- Plastic or leather straps for nylon sacks.
These guidelines are important because the sortation hub continues to receive sacks that have either lost their D&R tags or have opened during the sort, spilling the contents everywhere. Loose mailpieces must be re-sacked and missing D&R tags must be replaced before the sacks can move. This puts the mail at risk for late delivery.
When employees either place D&R tags directly on the sack material or do not fully attach the D&R tags to the landing strip, friction from the belts at the hub during processing can peel the labels off the sack material. To avoid this, always apply D&R tags firmly to the landing strip on each mail sack. Place the tag so that it is fully on the landing strip and all of the corners are flattened. Do not use sacks that are missing white landing strips.
Fill Properly and Close Securely
Additionally, employees must reprocess mailpieces and packages from sacks that open during the sort. This adds additional cost and time to the sorting process. By filling the sacks properly and closing them tightly, you will eliminate the need for reprocessing. Follow these guidelines for closing mail sacks:
- Clear plastic sacks with the Velcro strap. First, employees must ensure that the contents do not exceed the fill line. Filling sacks above this line does not leave sufficient material for a solid closure. To close the sack properly, gather it together at the Velcro strap, then wrap the Velcro strap around the sack throat so that it overlaps lengthwise. Finally, run your hand around the strap to ensure you have fastened the strap as tightly as possible.
- Nylon sacks with leather straps. Employees must gather the material together at the strap. If this is not possible, the sack is too full and you must remove some of the contents. Once you close the sack, wrap the strap tightly around the sack throat and pull the strap end through the catch until you can twist the lock to secure the top. Do not use nylon sacks with broken straps or missing catches.
- Colored plastic sacks. These sacks do not come with a closure. Instead, employees thread a barcoded zip tie through the four small holes located about 6 inches below the top of the sack. This cinches the top of the sack. Do not use the large holes at the top as these are for hanging the sack on processing equipment.
To fasten colored plastic sacks:
- Insert the small, pointed end of the zip tie through the small front hole and out the back hole on one side.
- Next, gather or fold the neck of the sack so you can insert the zip tie through the other side of the sack, back to front.
- Then, insert the pointed end of the zip tie into the hole in the large, barcoded end. If the zip tie does not thread easily through the hole, you have it inserted in the wrong side.
- Make sure you have fully contained the throat of the sack within the circle formed by the zip tie going through both sides of the sack and pull the zip tie closed as tightly as possible.
- If you have correctly threaded and fastened the zip tie, then you have completely closed the throat of the sack. You will not be able to remove mail from the sack without first removing the zip tie.
Following these simple MTE guidelines for mail sacks eliminates reprocessing and keeps the mail moving. Employees must remove any sacks that do not meet these conditions from service and send them to the nearest mail transport equipment service center for repair or disposal.
— Mail Transport Equipment,
Network Operations, 3-1-18