This only applies to residents of the United States or anyone sending anything to a US address.
Anything to help that will make it easier for our mail carriers. This with less handling on our packages and more accuracy, and quicker delivery. Several traders have let me know that this has made sending and receiving trades a lot faster. Now why wouldn't we want that!?
It only takes a few seconds to look up a ZIP+4 code as long as you have just street, city and state.
National Address Server
I prefer to use this one because it's faster but the next one is more likely to be up to date.
United States Postal Service: ZIP + 4 Lookup
This one takes longer to input but shows you it is as specific as Carrier Route & Delivery Point. If you tried the first one and didn't come up with it, it may show up here.
If you live in a rural area, you may not have one. I've been noticing that those of you with PO Boxes commonly have the Zip+4 code.
Why are ZIP+4 codes used?
In 1983, the Postal Service began using an expanded ZIP Code called "ZIP+4." A ZIP+4 code consists of the original 5-digit ZIP Code plus a 4-digit add-on code. The 4-digit add-on number identifies a geographic segment within the 5-digit delivery area, such as a city block, office building, individual high-volume receiver of mail, or any other unit that would aid efficient mail sorting and delivery.
Use of the 4-digit add-on is not mandatory, but it helps the Postal Service direct mail more efficiently and accurately because it reduces handling and significantly decreases the potential for human error and possibility of misdelivery. It also will lead to better control over USPS costs and, in turn, postage rate stability. From: United States Postal Service Website
Why are ZIP+4 Codes Faster?
Because from the moment they leave the main outgoing office of your area, they are stamped along the bottom with a bar code which allows that mail to be sent without ever being handled by another human being until it reaches the final post office where it will be picked up by the correct human postal carrier and delivered to the recipient. It is entirely automatic (machine handled) from point A to point B.
For those of you who print your envelopes (and those of us who don't), you may be interested in glancing at "How can I find out more information about proper addressing and barcoding as well as maintaining address quality?" Also from: USPS Website
There are a couple of very small PDF files that you can download which are VERY informative:
Postal Addressing Standards (Pub 28)
Addressing for Success (Pub 221)
Many of you probably already have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software to read .pdf files. If not, you can download it here.
Or you can call the National Customer Support Center (NCSC) at 800-238-3150 to request them as free publications.
With all the issues our mail carriers are facing now, the least we can do is help to make their job easier.
I hope you find this information helpful. : )
For more information on gardening and trading you may find useful, look here.