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Seed Germination: Saving Postage on Seed Trades, 1 by Michael_Ronayne

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Subject: Saving Postage on Seed Trades

Forum: Seed Germination

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Michael_Ronayne wrote:
Quite by accident I discovered that not all #000 4”x8" Kraft Bubble Padded Self-Sealing Envelopes are the same size. The 4”x8” metric for these envelopes appears to more of a suggested size and there is variation in size between manufactures. In terms of the cost of shipping the most critical dimension is the thickness which is not even listed by most manufactures. I went shopping for inexpensive #000 envelopes on Amazon and found this product:


When the envelopes arrived they appeared to be a bit smaller and measured 4.75”x7.125” on the outside when closed but the padding was adequate. The official USPS #000 envelope and those from office supply stores measure 5”x 7.5” on the outside when closed and are thicker. I didn’t think anything of it until I went to the Post Office to mail same seeds. The Postman looked at the envelope and decided to check the size using a plastic “Letter-Size Mail Dimensional Standards Template” he had at the counter. The #000 padded envelope from Amazon passed through the slot in the template without difficulty because its thickness was less than 0.25 inches. I was told that that I only needed two Forever-Stamps at a cost of $0.88 because this was considered a letter and not a package by the USPS. I have noticed that postage on #000 padded envelopes I receive from others is much higher. One shipment of a single package of seeds to Pennsylvania from New Jersey shipped for only $0.66 so it may pay to have the envelopes checked at the counter.

There are two templates which the USPS uses to determine the size of mail and the associated costs for shipping. The “Letter-Size Mail Dimensional Standards Template” is a plastic template which the Postal Clerks use at the counter to measure mail. The “First-Class Mail Shape-Based Pricing Template” is folding glossy cardboard template with a lot of guidance and information for USPS customers. If you ask you local Post Master nicely you may be able to obtain the latter for free.

Directives and Forms Catalog

“Letter-Size Mail Dimensional Standards Template”
PSN 7610-03-000-9053

“First-Class Mail Shape-Based Pricing Template”
PSN 7530-10-000-0765

The plastic templates are available on the Internet from several sources. Here is one which I found to be entertaining:

Template for Sizing Envelopes

I can’t vouch for any vendors but this one sounded humorous, factual and honest. Anyone who tells to try and get it for free from the Post Office first is OK with me.

Perhaps we could save a little money on seed trades by paying more attention to the outside dimensions of the envelopes, with particular emphases on the thickness. There is one problem. As most vendors don’t specify the thickness of their #000 envelopes we could order one batch of #000 envelopes which was thinner than 0.25 inch limit and a subsequent order could be thicker than 0.25 inch maximum. We need to find some way to verify the thickness of the #000 envelopes we order in advance. The only guideline I can give you is that less expensive #000 envelopes appear to be thinner than 0.25 inch critical thickness.

DG members should start posting sources for “Seed Trade Friendly #000 Envelopes” here. It would also be useful to track shipping costs and experiences you had at the Post Office.


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