In order to reuse packaging and cut down on waste, many shippers try to turn USPS boxes inside-out. As long as the boxes are still sturdy enough to be used a second time, this strategy is perfectly fine. However, turning boxes inside-out only works when you’re using non-USPS branded boxes or envelopes.
The Postal Service Doesn’t Allow You to Turn USPS Boxes Inside Out to Reuse Them
While USPS allows you to turn almost every kind of box inside-out, they won’t let it fly with their own packaging; it’s simply not allowed. The USPS website lays it out succinctly:
“Turning the packaging inside out to conceal the Priority Mail / Priority Mail Express insignia is specific misuse that is not allowed.”
So, the answer to this question is. a resounding no.
If you’ve ever looked at the inside of one of these boxes, it’s heavily marked with diagonal writing that says “Priority Mail” (or “Priority Mail Express”), anyway. Therefore, turning it inside out isn’t going to give you much concealment in the first place. USPS will still know exactly what kind of box it is when you hand it over to them. At that point, USPS will likely refuse the package entirely.
If You’re Using USPS Packaging, You Need to Pay for the Specific Service Marked On It
All USPS-branded boxes and envelopes are marked with some form of “Priority Mail” or “Priority Mail Express” service. This can be regular Priority Mail (weight-based), Priority Mail Flat Rate, Priority Mail Regional Rate, or Priority Mail Express. No matter which sub-service it’s, USPS is strict about forcing you to pay for the exact one on the box. If you don’t do that, USPS will charge you for the difference of what it would have costed to ship that service in the first place…and that’s even if they accept the package at all. This is exactly how the USPS Automated Package Verification (APV) System works, and millions of shippers get hit with unexpected APV charges every single day because they didn’t pay for the right service marked on their USPS box or envelope.
Learn more about using the right USPS boxes.