When it comes to addressing mailers, it's essential to label your packages correctly to ensure they arrive at their destination on time. But what exactly does proper labeling mean? What are the best types of labels to use with white mailer bulk envelopes? Can you use the same labels for different packages? We're here to answer those questions and more as we take a deep dive into proper labeling techniques!
Unless you're shipping something special, you can use many white mailer bulk envelopes with traditional address labels. You can either type your addresses onto the labels using software or a label-making website or write the name and address of the recipient directly onto your mailers.
For those who have never packaged and shipped boxes or mailers before, the process is relatively simple. On your white mailer bulk envelopes or other mailers, place the package face-up (the side with the sealed flap should be facing downward). Find the center of the envelope, both horizontally and vertically. This location is where you will indicate to whom your item is being shipped to and where they are located. If you are handwriting your mailing label, neatly write the person's first and last name in the center of the package. Directly below their name, write the first line of their address. Below that, write the city, state, and zip code.
Although the majority of people receive mail at their physical address, it's essential to ensure that the person you are shipping to receives mail at their home rather than at a post office box or other location. Using the incorrect shipping address can cause a delay in your item being delivered, your item is lost, or your package is returned to you due to it being labeled as undeliverable.
Now that we've gone over a few of the basics for white mailer bulk envelopes and labeling, it's time to take a better look at the step-by-step process involved with ensuring your labels are compliant and transparent.
Step 1: Pick Your Mailers
The first and most crucial step in ensuring that your mailers arrive safely at their destinations is to choose the best mailer for your needs. If you frequently ship soft items, such as clothing, fabric, or bedding, investing in white mailer bulk envelopes is a great option. Poly mailers are designed to be lightweight, affordable, and durable, protecting their contents from being damaged by moisture, rips, tears, dirt, and debris during transit. Here is a breakdown of a few additional things to look for in your white mailer bulk envelopes:
- Durability: In addition to being lighter than cardboard, poly mailers are also more durable in the way that they protect what's inside. Corrugated cardboard boxes feature a stamp identifying their edge crush test or ECT strength. However, there is no standard for establishing the strength of a poly mailer. Instead, the durability of poly mailers depends on the thickness of the plastic, the number of layers applied during the manufacturing process, and the way that the seams are put together. It's important to remember that you get what you pay for. If paying a few extra pennies per poly mailer is the difference between a damaged or lost product and a happy customer, we believe it's best to pay up!
- Tear strip: Including a perforated strip in poly mailers makes it easier for customers to open their packages without having to maul the bag to death. Not only does it make it easier to open, but tear strips also make it more likely for the container to be used again. Fun fact — tear strips go hand in hand with peel and stick closures. If your goal is for customers to reuse your poly mailers— for mailing back a return, for instance —selecting a mailer that has a dual peel and stick tear strip is a smart move.
- Release Liner: A release liner is a small strip of glossy paper that protects the layer of adhesive that is used to close the bag. Purchasing poly mailers should make your shipping procedures as smooth and seamless as possible, not cause more headaches. Pro tip? Avoid static release liners. They'll stick to you, stick to your poly mailers, and stick to the floor, making your mailing experience everything but smooth and seamless!
In addition to poly mailers and white mailer bulk envelopes, there are a few other envelope styles to be aware of:
- Padded envelope: Padded envelopes are traditional envelopes made out of manila paper and reinforced on the inside with foam or additional paper padding. Padded envelopes are perfect for mailing certificates or documents but are not suitable for more delicate items such as anything breakable.
- Bubble mailers: In terms of durability and safety, bubble mailers are a step above padded envelopes. Instead of including a layer of paper or foam, these paper envelopes are reinforced with bubble wrap.
- Poly mailers: Poly mailers are made with durable plastic, or polyethylene film, rather than paper. These mailers are perfect for shipping softer items such as clothes, fabric, or even for covering small boxes. Poly mailers are not only affordable and lightweight, but they're also moisture resistant and easily customizable.
Step 2: Pick Your Labels
The second step to ensuring proper labeling for your mailers is to select the type of labels you plan on using. There are several types of mailing labels available for purchase online, such as these shipping labels by Shop4Mailers, that will allow you to create printed labels that easily adhere to any package you choose. These are especially useful when you're shipping with plastic white mailer bulk envelopes. In addition to pre-printed labels, there are also different programs available that will print directly on the packaging for you. Although typically designed for traditional envelopes, they're worth mentioning!
For specific shipments, there are requirements as to the type of label you must use, regardless of what mailers you're using. For example, shipping Priority Mail Express with the United States Postal Service. According to the USPS website, "For Priority Mail Express, you must use a USPS-produced address label provided by the Post Office." Military Mail with the USPS also has requirements: "Military addresses must show the full name with a middle name or initial and the PSC number, unit number, or ship name. Replace the city name with APO, FPO or DPO, and the state with AA, AE, or AP, and include the ZIP+4 Code."
Step 3: Address Your Labels
Using labels that can be typed and printed makes them more legible for the postal service or other employees who will be working to ensure your white mailer bulk envelope gets to its destination. When typing your labels, make sure that your font is large, bold, legible, and spaced far enough apart that it doesn't overlap.
If you're not using pre-printed labels, it's essential to write clearly using a pen or marker that doesn't smear or bleed. We recommend a permanent marker in black ink for the best results. Place the recipient address in the center of the package, ensuring that you have double-checked the shipping address, including the street name and zip code, beforehand. Nothing will ensure your parcel gets lost or delivered to the incorrect address faster than writing the wrong zip code or an address that is smeared!
Step 4: Place Your Labels
Another critical aspect of properly labeling your packages is to ensure that your labels are in the correct place. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is regarding labels with printed barcodes. Barcodes are created to give shipping machinery and delivery drivers information about where your item has been as well as where it's going. When your labels are placed incorrectly, they can rip, tear, or make it difficult for barcode scanners to read the label. When your label isn't read correctly, your package may not arrive at its destination, and you may lose out on critical tracking information.
Here are a few specific examples about incorrectly placed labels that will hopefully help you avoid mistakes in your shipping endeavors:
- Mailing tubes: Typically used to ship posters or other paper documents, these mailers require careful attention when placing your shipping labels. If you apply your shipping label vertically, or with the top of the label facing the top of the tube, the barcode will be wrapped around the tube. Regardless of how you turn the tube, it's impossible to get a full scan on the label because of the way the tube curves. Rather than placing the label vertically, place it horizontally to ensure your label is easy to scan.
- Cardboard boxes: It's also important to be careful of your label placement when shipping with cardboard boxes. Ensure that your label is placed flat and that the barcode doesn't wrap around corners or on seams. During transit, boxes can move and the items inside may shift. Excessive movement can cause your boxes to split along the seams. If your label's barcode falls along the seams of your package, a slight split can rip the barcode and cause it to become unreadable. If you must apply your label so that it falls along the seam, be sure to place the label so that if the seam splits, it will split horizontally through the barcode. As long as you can scan the non-interrupted pattern of bars across the entire length of the barcode, you shouldn't need to be able to scan its full height.
- Poly mailers: Due to their flexible nature, white mailer bulk envelopes help make scanning label barcodes easier because the package can be moved and shifted. However, it's essential to ensure that you place your labels evenly without any bumps or bubbles in the label.
Step 5: Identify Hazardous Materials
Customers are required to know the contents of the packages that they're mailing, as well as ensuring that they do not send any hazardous materials. Outside of certain limited exceptions, Title 18 United States Code 1716 (18 U.S.C. 1716) "declares it a crime to mail anything that may kill or injure persons or harm property. Persons violating the statute may be subject to fines, imprisonment, or other severe penalties."
Federal regulations have labeled different hazardous materials under nine different categories. When you ship your package, the staff at the shipping office will ask you to certify that your parcel does not contain any hazardous or restricted items, such as those listed in the categories below. Even if it's accidental, customers may still face fines for shipping hazardous materials. If you're not the one preparing your items for shipment, ensure that the packages are correctly prepared and that whoever is packaging them for you understands the importance of removing anything that may be deemed hazardous.
- Class 1: Explosives. This category includes fireworks, fuses, ammunition, and model rocket engines.
- Class 2: Gases. This category includes airbag inflators, scuba tanks, and aerosols.
- Class 3: Flammable Liquids. This category includes gasoline, some cosmetics, perfumes, some paints or inks, varnishes, and items containing fuel or fuel residue.
- Class 4: Flammable Solids. This category includes signal flares and matches.
- Class 5: Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides. This category includes swimming pool chemicals, oxidizing liquids, nitrates, and peroxides.
- Class 6: Toxic Materials and Infectious Substances. This category includes pesticides, flea collars, arsenic, potassium cyanide, parathion, tear gas, irritating materials, items containing etiologic agents, used needles, and medical devices.
- Class 7: Radioactive Materials. This category includes any product with a radioactive warning label.
- Class 8: Corrosives. This category includes batteries, drain cleaners, chlorine bleach, acids, and mercury.
- Class 9: Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials. This category includes lithium-ion batteries, magnetized materials, self-inflating lifesaving devices, dry ice, and lithium.
Step 6: Let It Go
Once you've ensured that your white mailer bulk envelopes are appropriately labeled, there are no hazardous materials inside, and your addresses are correct, your package is ready to go! Although it can seem confusing, proper labeling isn't nearly as complicated as it looks once you get the hang of it. For labels, colored, designed, and white mailer bulk envelopes, and more tips and tricks on best practices for your shipping needs, sign up for our email!