Postal Clerk Info
Alcoholic Beverage Boxes

Hazardous Materials - Alcohol Box Return Procedures

Customer service is a very important part of our job. One way we can provide better service to our customers is by paying close attention to the types of boxes that they use to mail packages. Many times, mailers reuse liquor, wine, or beer boxes that they received at their local grocery or liquor store because they make sturdy shipping containers. Downstream, these boxes are removed from the mailstream because their markings indicate that they contain alcoholic beverages, which are nonmailable materials under Postal Service mailing standards. Because the nonmailable labels or markings were not identified at acceptance, the Postal Service is often faced with service delays and unhappy customers.

As stated in Publication 52, Section 42, “intoxicating liquors having 0.5 percent or more alcoholic content are nonmailable.” Therefore, all commercially available beer, wine, and liquor (e.g., whiskey, rum, and gin) are nonmailable under Postal Service regulations.

As you remember from our previous stand-up talk (#2), customers may reuse boxes only after all former markings and labels have been removed or are completely obliterated. If any evidence of the prior contents is visible, the parcel cannot be accepted.

If a mailpiece is discovered in the mailstream that displays markings or labels indicating the presence of alcoholic beverages, employees are instructed to assume that the markings on the outer packaging define that which is contained inside the parcel. Mailpieces bearing alcoholic beverage markings and/or labels and no hazardous materials markings must be returned to the mailer. The mailpiece may not be forwarded to the addressee.

A Label DECDDD4 is placed over the address, a Label 127 is affixed to the mailpiece, and the mailpiece is returned to the mailer via surface transportation.

Label DECDDD4, Prohibited Item Return Label

Label 127, Surface Transportation Only

Mailpieces bearing alcoholic beverage markings/labels that have been returned to the sender may be presented at a retail window for a postage refund. To remail the item, the mailer must then repackage the item in an appropriate box without prohibited labels and markings.