Max Heath, postal chairman for the National Newspaper Association, answers this question from an HSPA-member newspaper:
Q: I know from the HSPA Annual Meetings that the U.S. Postal Service offers the option to use trays rather than bags for mailed newspapers. However, our local postmaster insists on bags. Now what?
A: Show your postmaster the U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual passage below.
Trays are optional, but that means you can use them.
I’ve never met a mail plant person who didn’t want this. Bags are costlier to handle and are all same color for standard/periodicals mail.
NNA hopes to get a lower rate for tray use when we get enough usage to tout.
Use of Flat Trays (Optional)
When using this option, mailers must prepare mailpieces in flat trays with green lids.
Flat tray sizes are as follows:
- a. Inside bottom dimensions: 14-3/4 inches long by 10-3/4 inches wide.
- b. Height: 8 inches to bottom of handhold, 11-1/4 inches to top of tray.
20.4.2 Flat Tray Preparation
Mailers using this option must prepare flat trays subject to these standards:
- a. Addresses on all pieces must face upward in the same direction.
- b. Pieces must be placed in trays to maintain their orientation (double stacks of mail are allowed). Once the required minimum volume is reached to allow or require preparation of a 5-digit scheme, 5-digit, 3-digit, SCF, or ADC tray, additional pieces must be placed in the same tray up to its capacity to minimize the number of trays used. Trays must not be so full that the mailpieces inhibit adequate closure or covering of the contents.
- c. The weight of a tray and its content must not exceed 70 pounds.
- d. Each tray must bear the correct tray label.
- e. When pieces remain after one or more full trays are prepared for a 5-digit scheme, 5-digit, 3-digit, SCF, or ADC destination, an additional tray to the destination must be prepared if the remaining pieces reach the required volume. If the remaining volume is below the required minimum, the pieces must be moved to the next tray level that meets the minimum volume.
- f. Each flat tray must be covered with a green lid. Each covered flat tray must be secured with two straps placed tightly around the width (shorter dimension) of the tray.