Mail collection boxes are practically as American as apple pie. They also seem to be disappearing as quickly as mom’s homemade apple pie. 

Nationally, the number of collection boxes declined by more than 12,000 in the past 5 years. Some customers have complained the U.S. Postal Service has gone too far and removed too many collection boxes in neighborhoods. They’ve also questioned whether this effort is saving USPS money in the long run.

It’s a tough balancing act for the Postal Service. Some collection boxes are barely used and are expensive to maintain. On the other hand, mail collection boxes are a visible representation of the Postal Service to the American public, and their disappearance has been noted. They also are reliable, secure, and convenient receptacles for mail.

As part of its efforts to keep its collection infrastructure proportionate to customers’ needs at a reasonable cost, the Postal Service has eliminated underused collection boxes that on average receive fewer than 25 pieces a day; it has also added collection boxes where they are convenient for customers.

Our recent audit report looked at the Postal Service’s collection box removal process in the Eastern Area and found that it was not effective. While the area and its 10 districts have procedures for removing and relocating collection boxes, they were not consistently followed.

We recommended management require each district to periodically evaluate whether to relocate or remove underused collection boxes included in the annual density test that determines the average volume of mail collected. We also recommended the Postal Service maintain supporting documentation on its removal and relocation decisions, and establish a process to monitor out-of-service collection boxes.

How close is your nearest collection box? Do you have a collection box in your neighborhood? Do you use it regularly? 

Comments (31)

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  • anon

    Looking for two metal boxes to utilize as Flag retirement depoist boxes for the local Boy Scout Troop. We get quite a few flags donated to us on a regular basis and would love to be able to have a better collection area for them. Thank you, Monique Assistant Scout Master Troop 911

    Oct 17, 2017
  • anon

    My son has written a ton of letters and is getting the run around told the USPS does not do that anymore with regards to getting a retired USPS box. It doesn't make sense - if they are retiring the colleciton boxes as has been reported by their own office what is the USPS doing with the boxes. Are they rotting in a government surplus yard somwhere. If you have any luck - please share and I will do likewise.

    Oct 18, 2017
  • anon

    I find it crazy to not have a Dropbox at the actual post office locations. That's your purpose to collect mail.

    Oct 12, 2017
  • anon

    Over 80% of the comments about removing mailboxes are negative. Is anybody listening? We need an updated collection box that is secure, connected, and alerts when there is mail. Move forward!

    Sep 29, 2017
  • anon

    THE ELK RIVER LIONS WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF WE COULD BUY SOME OLD COLLECTION BOXES TO COLLECT EYE GLASSES FOR THE POOR

    Sep 25, 2017
  • anon

    We are trying to locate a used mail drop box that has been taken out of service to replace the one we use for a book drop at our local library. Can you tell me where the old "blue" boxes can be purchased? We have a used book program that supports our community library program. Thank you, Mary Jo Lohrenz, Board of Trustees, Ocean Shores Washington Library

    Sep 11, 2017
  • anon

    I don't have a problem with collection boxes going away. Give your mail, whatever the amount, to the Letter Carrier. If you don't want to do that, or if there is too much mail, have the office mail clerk take it to the Post Office. There are far too many whiners in society today. Times have changed.

    Aug 13, 2017
  • anon

    The lack of these drop off boxes is the reason many of us business's have been using UPS for shipping. Yes the mail carrier comes in the early morning but most overnight letters are sent after 11 am at the height of business and for me to send it USPS I would have to drive 2 miles when UPS drop box is 50 feet from my office which is located on a very busy road strip stores and business on every lot. Washington Township, Gloucester County NJ Corner of Rt. 42/168 and Johnson Road. We want a box here.

    Aug 11, 2017
  • anon

    I no longer have any collection blue boxes anywhere close to me and am forced to travel several miles to the local post office to send any mail. This couldn't be more inconvenient.

    Aug 07, 2017
  • anon

    I understand the need for cost-cutting, but... Since i deposit mail in the box at 23850 Fenkell 48223 on an average of twice per week, i'll be finding it hard to walk 2-3 miles round trip (particularly in bad weather when sidewalks are obstructed) just to mail a letter when this convenient box is "decomissioned" in the near future...lnv

    Aug 01, 2017
  • anon

    hi, is it possible for us to request a drop off mailbox/collection box in front of our office? it's just so hard for us to have to walk and find nearby collection box if we have outgoing mails almost every day. let me know please.

    Jul 26, 2017
  • anon

    Our local post office in NW Oklahoma City was closed and there's a huge hole around our neighborhood without any kind of collection box. We've had our mail stolen from our curbside box countless times, but the only alternative we have at this point is to drive 10 minutes to the next closest post office to check our mail and drive 10 blocks just to drop letters off. You guys forced us to change from our porch mailbox to curbside because you said you had to save money. You rip out collection boxes and close post offices in the name of saving money. Well you're going to be getting a lot less money from me as I'm going to start doing as much business as I can online so that the thieves in our area won't get as much of a haul anymore. Sorry for the loss of revenue, but you kind of brought it on yourself.

    Jul 13, 2017
  • anon

    Come now!! All drop boxes were eliminated from the only two post offices (and one office itself closed) near my address in Estero, FL. I am simply unable to believe that those actions either eliminated underused boxes or saved USPS money.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    The exterior collection boxes at Preuss Post Office, (Alfred Ave & Pico Blvd) were removed many months ago to stop thieves from placing sticky materiel inside the snorkel shaped collection slots. I have been told that the USPS has a new design box it is installing in place of the removed ones. WHEN IS THIS HAPPENING AT PREUSS? PLEASE!

    Jul 05, 2017
  • anon

    We would like to have a drive up public USPS blue mailbox in our neighborhood (Huntington Estates 80231) and have it located in our neighborhood Welch Park, Arapaho County Colorado

    Jun 28, 2017
  • anon

    The boxes have disappeared in Whitley heights in Hollywood. I am nowhere near walking distance to one. I used to be able to find one on my way to runyon canyon on franklin ave. but then that disappeared. There used to be one on franklin and whitley, but that's gone. They're all gone! I have to drive all the way out to the post office to mail a letter now! Really unfortunate.

    Jun 03, 2017
  • anon

    Why are the drive-up mailboxes at Post Offices in South Orange County, California being removed or closed (tape over the deposit slot)? As a results, patrons are forced to find a place to park and walk into the building to mail letters, resulting in parking issues as well as a lack of convenience, as well as longer lines inside the Post Office.

    May 30, 2017
  • anon

    Last week I left my son's house north of Taneytown, MD with a letter in hand. I drove north through Littlestown, PA, south through Silver Run and Union Mills, on into Westminster, MD and then south to Sykesville, MD where I drove out of my way to the post office in Eldersburg, MD. In over a 45 mile trip through numerous towns and villages, I did not see a single drop box. Ridiculous!

    May 13, 2017
  • anon

    Our city, Shoreacres, Texas, zip 77571 has no collection mail box. For many years there was such a box at city hall, but it was removed some 12 or so years ago. We need a collection box, mainly because most homes have a mail box on the street, and security for outgoing mail is a problem. A collection box at city hall would be great.

    May 10, 2017
  • anon

    I have a blue collection box in front of my home and it is at a very busy intersection. How do I go about requesting this collection box be removed?

    May 09, 2017
  • anon

    My American Legion post is looking for a collection box to use as a retired flag receptacle. Can we get one somewhere?

    Mar 29, 2017
  • anon

    I live in a suburban neighborhood with 625 single family homes. We have no collection box. All of the surrounding neighborhoods have at least one box. Some have more. Access to the two boxes closest to my neighborhood will soon be impeded by construction, increasing the size of our mail box "desert". I wrote to my local postmaster asking him to consider installing a mail collection box in my neighborhood so that we could enjoy the same service as other neighborhoods. He never replied. It would be nice if there were a process to allow USPS customers to petition for a mail collection box; and a requirement that postal officials respond to such requests.

    Mar 10, 2017
  • anon

    December 13 2016 I visited the post office in the woodhaven district in fort worth texas to purchase stamps to deliver my Christmas cards ,after dropping them in the .proper slot , not one card has been delivered from leaving the post office I purchased a western union money order filled it out put in a Christmas card dropped it in a post office box located on country club lane it has not arrived to its destination. I continue to put my trust in post offices but this is heart breaking,i sent my sister a little bell & incense key chain of texas in a hot pink envelope , purchased at same post office to be sent to Cleveland ohio after our mom passed were still waiting to hear what happened it has been over a year.i ask the personell I get you should of purchased insurance ,never had ay idea of petty theft ,

    Dec 30, 2016
  • anon

    Hello Usps. Now I go to Chicago Chinatown Usps to mail a letter.Now the building temporary closed.Now that gone and most of Usps collection box.How people living here going mail or sent any package?I saw one by corner of cermack and Wentworth,but it looks like it's spray with black paint.I did'not think I want to drop mail in there.This very sad that mail box collection is gone or going be no more mail box.No letters of any kind,telling people that going on.It like closed a business down with any notice.Bad Usps Bussiness. Thank Sheldon

    Dec 27, 2016
  • anon

    Today i went to drop some mail on the last remaining collection box was left in my neighborhood, Joppa Md. It was gone! While i was wrapping my head around the disappearance, other two cars made the same discovery. Well the above mentioned drive by box is right in front of the post office, 20 feet at most, all it takes to collect the mail is for one employee to go out with a bag. Total employee time for the duty 5 min ( considering a very slow walking pace). The excuse that they are removing only those with little mail is quite pathetic. The above mentioned box is heavily used because is near by the only grocery store in the area, and the week end flea market. Non everybody can take time off from work because they have to go at the post office to drop some mail during the time they are open, and saturdays are a nightmare of waiting in line. Removing the collection boxes is the ultimate idiotic idea that will push away the few remaining costumers USPS had. Right before writing this comment i enrolled for online payment for all my bills. Because i do have 2 books of stamps and do not wish to reward USPS for their atrocious costumer service by tossing them i kept only one company on paper....as soon as the stamps are gone so will be my further use of USPS to send mail. au revoir.

    Dec 18, 2016
  • anon

    Until recently, there was a big drive up mailbox outside the post office at 808 Gleneagles Ct #1, Towson, MD 21286 that I once used for office mail daily when I worked down the road, and almost as frequently for personal mail because I live nearby. Now it's gone. The parking lot is small and awkward when the post office is busy. And now, rather than driving through in a matter of minutes and getting out of the way of people who need to park to buy stamps or mail packages, I have to park, too, just to walk inside the building to drop mail in a slot. For this particular post office location, getting rid of the convenient outside drive up mailbox makes for a lot more confusion in a small parking lot. What could possibly have been a burden to the USPS about that outside mailbox? This makes no sense at all.

    Dec 15, 2016
  • anon

    reduction or elimination of collection boxes is one more symptom of a failed business model for USPS and offers further insight into why USPS will be defunct before 2025.

    Nov 26, 2016
  • anon

    I agree. USPS is cutting off its nose to spite its face. Saving money by cutting services means losing customers. Losing customers means less revenue and further budgetary cuts. They should be moving in the opposite direction if they want to remain viable. That's why so many people use premium delivery services now. Ease of use is much more valuable than lower prices, when you're talking a few dollars difference. I used to have 2 mailboxes within walking distance of my home. Now there are none. It's like USPS doesn't want America's business anymore.

    Jun 28, 2017
  • anon

    Went to my local substation in Towson, Maryland to use the drive through mailbox. (The one located on my neighborhood corner for over 50 years was never replaced after damaged by an automobile striking it). I was very upset to find that ALL FOUR exterior mailboxes at the substation had been removed. This is a burden and inconvenience for a disabled individual such as myself to have to go into the lobby to mail a letter. THE PUBLIC IS NOT BEING PROPERLY SERVED BY REMOVING THESE HIGH VOLUME BOXES.

    Nov 25, 2016
  • anon

    The nearest box is 3 blocks away. I've started using it more now that I'm selling off some old stuff via eBay. Padded envelopes and small flat rate boxes fit in there just fine, which made it extremely convenient and a no brainer for shipping. Until today, that is. Went to the box and found that the familiar door was replaced with a very narrow slot! Way too small for the roughly 1" thick padded envelope I'd planned to just drop off. It meant an unplanned walk to the nearest P.O. (around a half mile away) then a wait on line because the P.O. has no drop box inside: just an even narrower mail slot for letters. All to drop off a simple $3 First Class mail package. This makes no sense and is making it much harder to use USPS for things that they're really competitive for. I'm going to start sending larger things by UPS since there's a drop off location only 2 blocks away from home and the hours are better than the post office anyway even though the shipping tends to cost more. I really hope someone rethinks this policy of changing the mailbox drop slot size. USPS generally wins on convenience and price, especially with flat rate Priority Mail which makes shipping drop dead simple. It seems reasonable that at least a small flat rate box should fit. Yes, I know you can request a free USPS pickup when a carrier's in the area, but that requires waiting around all day instead of dropping something in the box on the way to work.

    Oct 01, 2016
  • anon

    Removal of collection boxes that nobody uses is not the issue. Over the past 25 years, ever since EXFC started, the Postal Service has been shifting collection times to earlier hours to try to improve delivery performance scores. Many of these earlier collection times violated the national service standards for collections in Chapter 3 of the POM. Changes to the POM that were published in 2015 eliminated the mandate for a weekday collection at 5 PM or later for boxes that receive a weekday average of 100 pieces of mail or more, but current collection times still may not meet the needs of customers. The correct question to explore is the adequacy of collection times at collection boxes that do receive large quantities of mail.

    Sep 21, 2016

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