To save time and money at the post office and online, many understandably wonder if reusing envelopes is possible. Going further, you may be curious as to how to go about reusing envelopes, as well; Used envelopes are often ripped and wrinkled. Reusing envelopes could be considered unacceptable to mail out, especially when you’re sending them to a professional source. Luckily, there are ways to salvage envelopes before they reach that point.
Can You Reuse Envelopes?
You absolutely can, but not just for mailing. You can take advantage of them in your personal life in a variety of ways most never considered. Free envelopes arrive regularly in the form of junk mail, which makes great parcels for paper and small, loose trinkets. They’re also clean, keeping your future mail pieces presentable.
Why Reusing Envelopes Matters
When we receive mail, we rip them apart to get inside. That habit ruins them, and most don’t think about their possible utility. Reusing envelopes can cut down on paper waste and save you a bit of money. This goes for businesses and individuals. If you choose to reuse envelopes, you will need to avoid this if you’re wanting to use them again as is. Make a mental note to set aside all junk mail for later use.
How To Reuse Envelopes
Repurpose Window Envelopes
Window envelopes are the most widely available envelopes. They’ve named window envelopes for the translucent film “window” that shows the recipient’s name and address.
Because of that feature, you can repurpose window envelopes by carefully opening them, using glue for additional adhesive, flipping them inside out, or marking over the names and addresses. Shipping companies will either take reused envelopes or offer recyclable ones. Recyclable envelopes only further the problem with paper waste.
USPS encourages reusing envelopes, but only if “all markings and labels are removed or completely marked out so that they cannot be read.” If marking over old addresses on your envelopes, it’s recommended that it’s done in a clean, artful way for shipping purposes.
Reusing Mailing Envelopes
Mailing envelopes are wide envelopes with no window. They’re used to pack and ship large items like clothing and magazines instead of letters. At home, you can organize small items and important pieces of paper. This is the ideal choice for reusing envelopes because many mailing envelopes are lined with protective padding. If the flap is ripped off, you can cut one of the sides and use it in a similar way to manilla folders. Simply place a label on them to sort out all your important possessions.
What To Do with Leftover Envelopes
Any leftover envelopes that are worn, torn, or too damaged to make use of should be recycled. If you’re the crafty type, creating mail art with what’s essentially just paper will return value to it. You can do so easily by using glue, tape, scissors, or other items like confetti glitter. If you want to use envelopes as they are and want them to be presentable, remember to open them carefully. Use a butter knife, a letter opener, or a similar type of tool.
The patterns on the inside of mail are appealing to some artists and can be utilized as decorative material around other objects. Ripping the paper and using it as quick notepad paper is just as well, as well as using them as quick bookmarks, photo organizers, and even confetti. Some other options include:
- Mini envelopes
- Journal paper
- Mini envelopes
- Festive toppers
- Gift tags
Reusing envelopes is an economical way to reduce waste and avoid continuously purchasing mailing materials. And even when they’re far beyond reusing, rethinking the way you see envelopes can open up a new world full of creative, functional, and resourceful ideas that can give used envelopes back their value.