The United States Postal Service has unveiled new stamps it will be launching this summer, ones that revolve around a hot 80s trend: scratch-and-sniff scents. The scented stamps will feature images of iconic summer treats, such as popsicles and fudge pops, also including the scents that come with each unique treat. It’s a first for the Postal Service, and one based on simple technology.
If you were a kid in the 80s or 90s, you’re likely already familiar with scratch-and-sniff stickers: simply scratch them with a nail or coin, then take a sniff. Depending on what scent was applied to the sticker, you may be greeted with a fruity, earthy, or similar signature that resembles whatever image is printed on the paper.
The USPS’s newly announced summer stamp set will work in a similar way, the Service announced today. A total of ten stamp designs will be introduced on June 20 in Austin, though the agency has previewed them ahead of time. Each stamp features “the sweet scent of summer,” officials state, including things like kiwi, strawberries, and blueberries.
Unlike a piece of paper with a scent sprayed onto it, these stickers/stamps retain their scents for long periods of time. How does it work? Via a method called micro-encapsulation, which takes a chemical scent and essentially traps it in tiny spheres too small to see with the naked eye.
As you’ve probably guessed, scratching the stickers or stamps coated with these encapsulated scents breaks them open, allowing the chemical scent to escape. These stickers/stamps can often be scratched multiple times before fully losing their scent signature.