I have found some conflicting information in the DMM (odd, I know) regarding a mail piece being made of a material other than paper as stated in 201.2.1 but it uses "or" (my favorite word) unless it does not meet the standards in 3.0. So when I go to 3.0 which is full of glue spot information, booklets, disc mailers, FSM's, etc. and there is a little blurb about flexibility and a 40 pound tension going around a 11 inch diameter drum. Well, unfortunately, I left my drum at home.
Here's my piece. It is a paper postcard in the beginning and then we plan to laminate it with a film that will make it shiny but a bit thicker than UV coating. Would all you mailers out there consider this to be a "material other than paper"? It's not totally plastic because you can pick at it to expose the paper inside.
In my past life, I went through exactly this. Long story made short, as long as it's a paper core, it passes the test. So, even if you laminate a postcard on both sides (used to do pop out discount cards), you are fine. It's really about rigidity, so just laminating one side you shouldn't have a problem at all.
Obviously things have changed since I was on that side, but this was new back then, so I'm pretty confident the USPS hasn't changed it yet ;)
Hope you are well! :)
Sorry, I disagree.
200.2.0 Physical Standards for Nonmachinable Letters
2.1 Criteria for Nonmachinable Letters
A letter-size piece is nonmachinable if it has an exterior surface that is not made of paper or if it does not meet the standards in 3.0.
There are two reasons for a letter sized piece to be Nonmachinable. It has an exterior surface that is not made of paper OR it does not meet the standards in 3.0. Meeting the standards in 3.0 does not eliminate the requirement for the exterior to be made of paper. There is nothing in the DMM that talks about the "core" of the mail piece being paper.
The problem with non-paper exteriors (or plastic exteriors) is that they are slick and the belts used in transporting letters through the machines cannot grab and control these pieces. The second problem is that when routed to the stacker a certain resistance between pieces is needed to keep them in the machine. I have seen postal engineering video where plastic cards were processed and the pieces streamed out of the pocket on to the floor like a water fall because they were slick and there was nothing to keep them contained. This is where the coefficient of friction comes in.
We are currently testing a paper based product with a non-standard finish. This was acknowledged by the USPS to be a paper based product (interior/exterior) and yet we were required to test this piece by the PCSC. In conversations during testing it came out that yet another clear envelope (plastic) had been tested and again failed.
Though acceptance of non-paper exterior pieces vary from acceptance unit to acceptance unit and postal employee to postal employee, the DMM section above is very clear. And when you call the PCSC, they are very adamant. That said, there are still a few plastic card people out there that are allowed to continue to mail their product. That no one will admit too, but it's true. Headquarters has decided that several of these companies are "grandfathered" in. There will always be exceptions.
As always, mail at your own risk. I guess my risk tolerance is lower than most.
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