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 (58)

  • anon

    Thank you for your comments on our 2016 blog. Though we have closed the comment section on this page, the Office of Inspector General is continuously conducting reviews of USPS delivery points. Please visit our home page to view our most recent work. For the Postal Service's policy on collection boxes, please visit the About section of usps.com and search 'collection boxes'. Thank you again, OIG Blog Moderator

    Feb 14, 2018
  • anon

    I just moved to Tacoma WA. I cant find a place to mail normal letters for over 3 miles. This is insane. This is why FedEx and other services will take over. Convenience. Why not put one in a public store near all the homes here? 98404

    Feb 14, 2018
  • anon

    Where can we get a collection box for use in a hospital?

    Feb 08, 2018
  • anon

    Post office outside mail boxes were removed at belleview post office this was absolutly un called for. there are many citizens using these mail boxes Iwait in line to deposit mail frequently. This was totally un called for. I got people that are disabled asking me to help them to deposit there mail. Since was a very unneccery move please reconcider putting them back in place. we need them. Richard Wiczena

    Feb 07, 2018
  • anon

    WHERE CAN I BUY ONE? AMERICAN LEGION USING FOR OLD FLAGS TO BE DESTROYED.

    Feb 03, 2018
  • anon

    What is the process of requesting a collection mailbox in my community?

    Jan 31, 2018
  • anon

    Where's all the neighborhood Mailbox gone ? But most of all, who does the USPS work for ? The American people or Corporate America to only deliver their Junk Mail ? No excuse for such a poor service.

    Jan 23, 2018
  • anon

    Packages often not delivered even if the tracking information says "Delivered". I've had to literally confront our mail carrier several time to get my packages or packages mysteriously show up days later. On top of that USPS has removed outgoing mailboxes around our neighborhood. Where are we suppose to drop mail ? Good luck contacting customer service. Avoid USPS at all cost, unreliable and very lousy service.

    Jan 20, 2018
  • anon

    I totally understand cost-cutting measures, but it would be great if there was an app similar to “FindAGrave” where individuals could locate curbside drop off boxes and upload them to a database so anyone could find them when they are in an unfamiliar area.

    Jan 17, 2018
  • anon

    Do they collect from public collection boxes even if they (for whatever reason) don't pick up mail at each house? I noticed they didn't pick up my mail (at my house) yesterday (Monday). Did they pick up mail yesterday at the collection boxes? If so, and I knew it was their policy to pick up mail at collection boxes even if they don't from individual homes, then I could have guaranteed pick up by taking my letter to my nearest collection box.

    Jan 16, 2018
  • anon

    There are no collection boxes in the Rolando area of San Diego where we live. The PO is a mile away. I work at SDSU, and the collection box that was off campus at the McDonald's (couple blocks from the entrance) was relocated just inside the entrance of the university; it's the only one and there is no university post office since the old student union was torn down and rebuilt. I either have to walk a couple extra blocks from my bus or get to my local post office somehow. Campus mail is not reliable. Also, we were informed by our carrier that we cannot put outgoing mail in our apartment box and have it collected without notifying the carrier in advance or intercepting him/her to pick up the mail. They put mail in the box but do not look to see if there is outgoing mail. (There is no separate outgoing mail slot.)

    Jan 09, 2018
  • anon

    Are collection boxes that have been removed and no longer in service obtainable through usps Thanks you, Harry

    Jan 06, 2018
  • anon

    I live is rural Greer, SC, and feel that a central mail collection box would be a wonderful convenience. How does one petition USPS, or the local branch, to consider installing a secure collection box?

    Dec 15, 2017
  • anon

    I use your collection boxes in the Palm Beach gardens, fl location. The day i went their were not enough parking spaces and it was raining. Thus causing a delay for sending my mail out. Is there a list where these receptacles are being moved it?

    Dec 13, 2017
  • anon

    Used to use local drop off boxes for large quanties of mail after office hours & weekends Removing boxes has resulted in our company emailing statements, late notices, etc Large amounts of mail to one address now is sent by GSO Courier Service

    Dec 11, 2017
  • anon

    I made a big mistake of dropping a letter in the slot at one of the little substations USPS has for people to use PO boxes. I thought the box was actually serviced, as it was marked with pick-up hours. But now, almost a month later, my doctor's office never received the payment. It is charged to an HSA debit card, so now if someone eventually has that letter fall into their hands, they have all the info to use that credit card. The reason I used this collection box is because it was near where I was running an errand. I now have to plan my errands to revolve around finding a collection box. There used to be a drive-through, that was removed. Now you have to drive into a parking garage, park, and walk up steps into a condo building where the new station is located. Not pedestrian or handicap friendly. I live in an apartment complex with almost 100 units and our box was removed a decade ago as being "underused". When you have to look for an app to locate a damn mailbox, this is a sign of an agency whose apparent goal is to eliminate customers.

    Dec 02, 2017
  • anon

    MORE COLLECTION BOXES NEEDED in Commerce City / Reunion 80022................ I use the collection box at least four times a week and have to drive about a miles get to the closest one (104th Ave, & Tower Rd, Commerce City, 80022). This box is often so full I can easily stick my hand in to grab stuff out, so I drive to another location which is about 3 miles away. This is especially a problem when I drop off on Sunday or Monday as it is ALWAYS full!!! May I suggest a collection box with pull down opening somewhere around the perimeter of Reunion Park (Parkside Drive, Commerce City, 80022). This would be super helpful to our fast growing neighborhood. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Nov 28, 2017
  • anon

    The blue postal mailbox in our subdivision is in need of a paint job. I don't know how many people use it but I do. Its terribly faded. If you can't paint, how about a new one. Its the Holiday Park subdivision on the main drag, Holly, Canton, Mi.48187. Thank you

    Nov 27, 2017
  • anon

    The mailbox at the corner of Warren Street and Smith Street in Brooklyn, NY, is broken - it is jammed and mail cannot be deposited.

    Nov 17, 2017
  • anon

    How can we get a collection box back into the neighbor hood. There use to be one but now it's gone. I drove around in the area and didn't find a collection box for about a mile. Detroit, Michigan 48221 area of Puritan and Wyoming Thank You

    Nov 14, 2017
  • anon

    The Mailbox that has been in my neighborhood since before I was born was recently removed. It served a small community in Miami, FL, but was always there and used it about once a month. It is preposterous to remove these recepticles that we rely on. How do we petition to bring them back?

    Nov 05, 2017
  • anon

    Would like to purchase old collection mailbox for our vfw to collect old flags that must be taken care of the proper way commander post 6506 Baltimore md thank you

    Oct 26, 2017
  • anon

    Hey Sam, we are looking for a receptacle container for the exact same purpose. Our American Legion would like to collect old flags and have the local Boy Scouts get involved with their disposition. We are looking for a drop box also... Amy lead would be appreciated..

    Dec 17, 2017
  • anon

    Hey Sam, we are looking for a receptacle container for the exact same purpose. Our American Legion would like to collect old flags and have the local Boy Scouts get involved with their disposition. We are looking for a drop box also... Amy lead would be appreciated..

    Dec 17, 2017
  • anon

    Hello Sam, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent organization and the collection boxes fall outside of our jurisdiction. However, USPS regulation states that collection boxes are not to be sold, loaned or donated. More information on this can be found on the "About" page on the USPS website.

    Oct 27, 2017
  • anon

    I work at a Women's Shelter at the corner of Monument and Farish Streets in Jackson, MS. There is a nearby Blue box for my location but none in the 39203 area code. One should be at 911 Palmyra Street which is a community anchor location with high visibility and easy access.

    Oct 21, 2017
  • 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

    Give your outgoing mail to the carrier who deliveries your mail.

    Nov 19, 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

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