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Secure Destruction

Secure Destruction is a cost effective, secure, and convenient way to manage mail with personal protected information.

Part of the USPS® BlueEarth sustainability initiatives and an opt-in service, this new program securely shreds and recycles letter-size pieces of Undeliverable-As-Addressed (UAA) First-Class Mail® with personal protected information that would otherwise be returned to the sender (RTS). 


Who is Secure Destruction for?

Mailers participating in OneCode ACS®, Full-Service ACS, or Traditional ACS™ with an Intelligent Mail® barcode may request Secure Destruction Service using a Secure Destruction Service Type ID.

First Class Mail


The Secure Destruction program provides an opportunity to improve environmental performance, cut costs, and enhance value to customers​.

Participation offers mailers reduced costs associated with receiving, handling, and destroying RTS mail with Privacy Protected Information (PPI). USPS also benefits by reducing the amount of Return to Sender (RTS) mail that needs to be processed, transported, and delivered to mailers. 

Undeliverable Letter-size First-Class Mail requesting Secure Destruction is processed using Postal Automated Redirection System (PARS) software on our Combined Input-Output Sub-System (CIOSS) mail processing equipment. UAA First-Class Mail identified by PARS is labeled and isolated the CIOSS. The SD mail is then trayed and sent for individual piece verification by USPS employees. Once verified, the mail is fed into an industrial cross-cut shredder at the USPS facility. The destroyed and shredded paper material is then recycled.

Mailers that enroll in the program will receive Daily Electronic Notice of the mailpieces sorted for Secure Destruction, which is generated and provided to registered mailers through the USPS Electronic Product Fulfillment website. ACS notices are also generated and provided separately. The Secure Destruction Electronic Notification documentation will guide you through the Secure Destruction process, mailer requirements; data file formats, and sample data.

Mailing Industry Benefits

  • Reduces carbon emissions (i.e., greenhouse gases). The USPS estimates that for every 25,000 pieces of carrier delivered Return To Sender (RTS) mail that is destroyed, carbon emissions are reduced by an average of 1 metric ton of CO2 equivalent.
  • The process takes place within secure USPS facilities by Postal employees, reducing risks of information exposure.
  • All securely destroyed mail will be recycled, thus reducing the demand on natural resources.

Benefits for Registered Mailers

  • Reduction of in-house costs for handling and destroying Return to Sender (RTS) mail.
  • Visibility into the process through daily automated notifications on the USPS Electronic Product Fulfillment (EPF) website.
  • Improvements in privacy protection for customers.

Mailers interested in the Secure Destruction Program must complete these steps to register:

  1. Use of the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb™) for letter-sized Full Service or Basic First-Class Mail is required. 

  2. An ACS account is required to receive the secure destruction notices. You may use an existing OneCode ACS, SingleSource ACS™, or Traditional ACS account, or you may open a new ACS account.

  3. Access to Electronic Product Fulfillment (EPF) website is required, because that's how the secure destruction notices will be provided. If you already have an ACS account or subscribe to other Address Management products, then you probably already have EPF access.

  4. Complete and submit the Secure Destruction Enrollment form. This will enable the flow of secured destruction notices to your ACS account.

  5. Determine which Secure Destruction Service Type ID (STID) you will use in the IMb. Information on the options available can be found in the Secure Destruction Electronic Notification documentation. You will be provided with a list of the STIDs as soon as you are registered.

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Featured Resources

Secure Destruction Workshops and Webinars

Related Products

OneCode ACS®

OneCode ACS allows customers mailing First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail®, and Periodical flats or letters to receive electronic or automated address corrections using the Intelligent Mail® barcode.

Traditional ACS™

Traditional ACS is one of the four ways to participate in ACS, where mailers notifications of undeliverable mail (UAA) and change-of-address (COA) electronically. The Intelligent Mail® barcode is not required to receive Traditional ACS. 

Electronic Documentation (eDoc)

To participate in Full-Service Intelligent Mail®, mailers must submit information electronically. This computer-consumable version replaces existing hardcopies and includes the following: postage statement and qualification report.

Service Type Identifiers (STIDs)

The Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is used to identify mailpiece movement through the postal system and support any additional services requested for that mailpiece. The STID defines the mailpiece as full-service or basic (non-automation) and is also used to determine the disposition of undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail and the form of address correction that a mailer desires if any.

Intelligent Mail® Barcode

The Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb) is used to sort and track letters, cards and flats and offers greater versatility by allowing many services to be requested and embedded within one barcode. The Intelligent Mail barcode combines the data of the existing POSTNET™ and the PLANET Code® barcodes, as well as other data, into a single barcode. 


ACS is a post mailing service that allows mailers to receive change-of-address (COA) and other reasons for non-delivery electronically and reduce the number of manual (hardcopy) address notifications.


For questions about enrollment or participation, please call (877) 640-0724 (option 1) or send an email to the ACS department at

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