USPS Standard Collection Box

Mail Collection Box Receptacle (Standard, Local, Snorkel)

Knitting the country together

Littera buxis


The common Blue Box mailboxes found throughout the Five Boroughs, and the rest of America. 

Subspecies variations

There is some discussion if we have discovered three unique species, or rather a set of local adaptations. We have chosen to organize the observed specimens into three adaptive variations, or subspecies, since all three are utilized in a similar fashion, and are morphologically similar. The three adaptive variations are:

  • L. buxus blavus
    Standard Collection Box Receptacle (Blue Box)
  • L. buxus localis
    Local Collection Box Receptacle
  • L. buxus beccus
    Snorkel Collection Box Receptacle
  • L. buxus prioritas
    Priority Mail Express® Collection Box Receptacle


All three adaptive variations:

A medium sized box on four thin legs, with half-round top; recessed maw opened by small handle; blue, with white markings, and individualized markings used for identification near the maw.

  • Standard Collection Box Receptacle (Blue Box):
    Feature unique delivery information markings
  • Local Collection Box Receptacle variation:
    Same physiological identification as Standard Box, but with different information markings
  • Snorkel Collection Box Receptacle variation:
    Same physiological identification as Standard Box, but with an extended chute at maw. 


Found curbside on city streets, generally at street intersections; sometimes found roosting inside buildings, especially government or large office buildings. Often solitary, but flocking behavior seen near Post Office. 

Local Collection Box is generally in high density population centers. 

Snorkel Collection Box is generally located in car–dependent or dominated areas, adapting to motorists. 


Evenly spread throughout all five boroughs, and the United States. 

See Also

  • Priority Mail Express® Collection Box Receptacle
  • Package Drop Units (PDUs)
  • Mail chute
  • Lobby Drop or Wall Drop
  • Cluster Box
  • Littera excambio
    Relay Mailbox



The United States Postal Service knits the country together, is a jewel of our country, and must be strengthened and reinforced as a bedrock of our democracy. These boxes are tended by both city residents who regularly – if intermittently – feed it with letters, and postal officials removing waste daily (except for Sundays).

Climate impacts

(This impact statement is in work)

Because the USPS has a statute responsibility to serve all American residents, this causes service to be placed in low efficient locations – Blue Boxes included. For every Blue Box, someone needs to come and empty it. So there is a tension of locating them which are convenient for people (reducing their travel emissions) and the collections by mail carriers. In NYC, a majority of us walk, so aligning the Blue Box locations with the most efficient collection pickups would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Further reading

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