Did you ever wonder what happens to mail with an illegible address or that’s sent to someone who no longer lives at the address? The U.S. Postal Service refers to this mail as undeliverable as addressed, or UAA mail. What happens next depends on how the mail was sent, such as the mail class and what services were paid for. It could be forwarded, returned to sender, or treated as waste.

While returning the mail to senders allows them to update the addresses, it is costly and inconvenient to both the Postal Service and the mailer. To save costs and be more environmentally friendly, the Postal Service developed the Secure Destruction Program in 2014. In fact, the Secure Destruction Program is one of the Postal Service’s key environmental sustainability initiatives. So how does it work? For participating commercial mailers, USPS securely shreds and recycles UAA First-Class letters and flats at postal facilities. Mailers receive electronic data about which mailpieces were destroyed, so the mailers still know which addresses need to be updated.

In a recent audit, we looked at the effectiveness of the Secure Destruction Program and found opportunities to enhance the program. For example, we identified shortcomings in the tracking and reporting of key workhour, revenue, and volume metrics. We also found the Postal Service should do more to market and promote this program. In fact, only six of the 25 program participants who responded to our survey thought favorably of the Postal Service’s marketing. Improved marketing could lead to more participants, increasing both cost savings and revenue generation.

What do you think? Had you heard about the Postal Service’s Secure Destruction program prior to reading this blog? 

Comments (6)

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  • anon

    I have never felt so disrespected in my life. I truly understand why people flip out on these people Due to a thieving rural carrier I’ve had to have my packages held. Which they now are refusing to comply with. Sent 2 more packages out. 1 of course did not show up. I’ve sent numerous complaints, no one listens, contacted the I general. We’ll see what he or she has to say. Really thinking about taking them to small claims court, then trying to sue for loss of buisness. I don’t know what else to do?

    Sep 04, 2021
  • anon

    I had a T6 carrier throw 1st class in UAA tubs every week for months. I told her to be careful, doublecheck items before throwing in tub. She kept doing it, so I told supervisor and postmaster: they didn’t care, they promoted her because she was fast. Typical usps management.

    Aug 19, 2021
  • anon

    Contact me , I’m going to file a class action, these people need to have some sort answering.

    Sep 04, 2021
  • anon

    I have never heard of the UAA. If the address is illegible, how do you know what to tell the sender? I receive lots of mail for other people.

    Aug 17, 2021
  • anon

    I am a rural mail carrier, 14 years. Most of the time I put something in forward, with a valid forward, I get it back it 2 days. Same thing with UTF. In summer, like yesterday, 50% of my DPS mail was upside down. So the B team could not figure out how to run the sorting machines. I can't make a mistake, called on it. The big office can... Every Rural knows this... Please feel free to contact me! Michael A. Ward

    Aug 17, 2021
  • anon

    I did not know about this. I get so much junk mail this service will help greatly.

    Aug 17, 2021