The Postal Service™ is clarifying standards for determining flexibility and uniform thickness of flat-size mailpieces and deleting standards for using the marking “Do Not Bend.” We are revising the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) 101, 301, and 601 accordingly.
We recognize that some flat-size mailpieces have contents that are stiff but not completely rigid. Some employees may be reluctant to administer the flexibility test on these pieces. As stated in the Federal Register notice of March 30, 2007, customers may administer the flexibility test on their own mailpieces with an employee observing. When the customer demonstrates that a flat-size piece is flexible according to standards, the employee does not need to perform the test. We are adding this clarification to DMM 101 and 301.
The requirement that nonpaper contents in flat-size mailpieces not shift more than 2 inches is within the context of the overall standard concerning uniform thickness. In DMM 101 and 301, we are adding the phrase “if shifting would cause the piece to be nonuniform in thickness,” to clarify that intent. We are adding a reminder to the same section that some objects placed in ordinary paper enve¬lopes may need to be fixed in place or wrapped within the other contents of the mailpiece to prevent them from burst¬ing out of the envelope. We are also clarifying when to exclude the external edges of a flat-size mailpiece when determining uniform thickness.
There has been a longstanding mailing standard that mailers marking their mailpieces with “Do Not Bend” must add a stiffener within the mailpiece. That requirement was included to provide a sensory reminder in case our employ¬ees did not see the marking. However, we do not guarantee that these pieces will not be bent during processing or bent or folded when delivered. Therefore, we are removing references to this marking. We recommend that mailers prepare these items (that could be damaged by bending or folding) in boxes or similar protective containers mailed at the applicable parcel rates, instead of adding handling endorsements on the outside of the mailpiece.
These revised standards are effective immediately.